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Hum Biol. 1991 Jun;63(3):241-52.

Origin and spread of beta-globin gene mutations in India, Africa, and Mediterranea: analysis of the 5' flanking and intragenic sequences of beta S and beta C genes.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Biologie Cellulaire, CNRS UMR 106, Universit√© Claude Bernard Lyon I, Villeurbanne, France.


Nucleotide polymorphisms of both the 5' flanking and intragenic regions of the human beta-globin gene were investigated by directly sequencing genomic DNA after amplification by the polymerase chain reaction in 47 subjects homozygous for the beta S or the beta C mutation. The sickle-cell mutation was found in the context of five different haplotypes defined by eight nucleotide substitutions and various structures of a region of the simple repeated sequence (AT) chi Ty. All subjects from the same geographic origin bear an identical chromosomal structure, defining the Senegal-, Bantu-, Benin-, Cameroon-, and Indian-type chromosomes. These results strengthen our previous conclusions about the multiple occurrence of the sickle-cell mutation. The Benin-type chromosome was also found among Algerian and Sicilian sickle-cell patients, whereas the Indian-type chromosome was observed in two geographically distant tribes, illustrating the spread of these sickle-cell genes. We also found that the intragenic sequence polymorphisms (frameworks) are not always in linkage disequilibrium with the BamH I polymorphism downstream from the beta-globin gene, as had been previously observed. Finally, we present a tentative phylogenetic tree of the different alleles at this locus. Some polymorphisms of this sequence might be contemporary with our last common ancestor, the great apes, that is, about 4-6 millions years old.

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