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BMC Res Notes. 2013 Apr 4;6:132. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-6-132.

Prevalence of common hemoglobin variants in an afro-descendent Ecuadorian population.

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Escuela Politécnica de Ejército, Av. Gral. Rumiñahui s/n, Sangolquí, Ecuador.



Hemoglobinopathies are among the most studied and frequent pathologies. These genetic disorders are considered a very important health care threat in many tropical countries. Ecuador is a tropical Latin-American country with an important presence of afro-descendants (7.2%). Afro-descendants are among the ethnic groups with higher frequency of hemoglobinopathies reported. Ambuqui is a region within the Imbabura province with an important presence of afro-descendants (>50%). The present study analyzed the frequency of the most common hemoglobin variants in an asymptomatic afro-descendent population using capillary electrophoresis.


From 114 individuals, 25 (22%) reported a hemoglobin variant. All individuals that presented hemoglobin variants were heterozygotes (asymptomatic). Hemoglobin S (sickle cell trait) was the most frequent variant found (14%), followed by hemoglobin E (4.4%), Fetal (2.6%) and C (1%).


Prevalence of hemoglobin S was consistent with populations from other countries, but it was lower than other Ecuadorian afro-descendent populations. Frequency of hemoglobin C was lower than other afro-descendent populations. This data suggests the possibility of gene flow from Native American individuals to the Ambuqui population there by lowering the frequency of their hemoglobin variants compared with other afro-descendant populations. Evaluating the frequency of hemoglobinopathies in Ecuadorian populations is essential. Despite the high frequency of these disorders, very few health care facilities implement hemoglobinopathies tests as a routine practice.

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