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OMICS. 2015 Mar;19(3):171-9. doi: 10.1089/omi.2014.0134.

Beta-globin gene haplotypes among cameroonians and review of the global distribution: is there a case for a single sickle mutation origin in Africa?

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1 Department of Microbiology, Parasitology, and Hematology, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé , Yaoundé, Cameroon .


Studies of hemoglobin S haplotypes in African subpopulations have potential implications for patient care and our understanding of genetic factors that have shaped the prevalence of sickle cell disease (SCD). We evaluated HBB gene cluster haplotypes in SCD patients from Cameroon, and reviewed the literature for a global distribution. We reviewed medical records to obtain pertinent socio-demographic and clinical features for 610 Cameroonian SCD patients, including hemoglobin electrophoresis and full blood counts. RFLP-PCR was used to determine the HBB gene haplotype on 1082 chromosomes. A systematic review of the current literature was undertaken to catalogue HBB haplotype frequencies in SCD populations around the world. Benin (74%; n = 799) and Cameroon (19%; n = 207) were the most prevalent haplotypes observed among Cameroonian patients. There was no significant association between HBB haplotypes and clinical life events, anthropometric measures, hematological parameters, or fetal hemoglobin (HbF) levels. The literature review of the global haplotype distributions was consistent with known historical migrations of the people of Africa. Previously reported data from Sudan showed a distinctly unusual pattern; all four classical haplotypes were reported, with an exceptionally high proportion of the Senegal, Cameroon, and atypical haplotypes. We did not observe any significant associations between HBB haplotype and SCD disease course in this cohort. Taken together, the data from Cameroon and from the wider literature suggest that a careful reassessment of African HBB haplotypes may shed further light on the evolutionary dynamics of the sickle allele, which could suggest a single origin of the sickle mutation.

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