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Studies in two Jamaican Negro families, including haematological and haemoglobin analysis, haemoglobin synthesis, and globin messenger-RNA assay, have defined two alpha-thalassaemia phenotypes which resemble the severe (alpha-thalassaemia 1) and mild (alpha-thalassaemia 2) forms of the disorder described in Orientals. Genetic analysis suggests that subjects with the alpha-thalassaemia-1 phenotype are homozygous for the alpha-thalassaemia-2 determinant. Restriction-endonuclease mapping shows that alpha-thalassaemia-2 results from the deletion of one of the linked pair of alpha-chain genes. Hence the genotypes of the alpha-thalassaemia heterozygotes and homozygotes in these families are -alpha/alpha alpha and -alpha/-alpha respectively. If these are the usual alpha-thalassaemia genotypes in Negroes, these findings explain the difference in clinical expression of the disorder between Orientals and Negroes--in particular, the absence of haemoglobin Bart's hydrops and the rarity of haemoglobin-H disease in Negroes.


Journal article



Publication Date





272 - 276


African Continental Ancestry Group, Chromosome Deletion, Chromosomes, Human, 16-18, DNA Restriction Enzymes, Female, Genes, Globins, Heterozygote, Homozygote, Humans, Male, Pedigree, Phenotype, RNA, Messenger, Thalassemia