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J Clin Invest. 1987 Jan;79(1):39-43.

Different hematologic phenotypes are associated with the leftward (-alpha 4.2) and rightward (-alpha 3.7) alpha+-thalassemia deletions.


We have compared the phenotypes of the two common deletion forms of alpha+-thalassemia by analysis of umbilical cord blood samples from Melanesia. Homozygotes for the leftward, 4.2-kilobase, deletion (-alpha 4.2) had significantly higher levels of Hb Bart's at birth than homozygotes for the rightward, 3.7-kilobase, deletion (-alpha 3.7). Compound heterozygotes for each deletion had intermediate values. Although deletion forms of alpha 0 thalassemia were not found in this survey, nondeletion alpha-thalassemia was present at low frequency. Since the predominant rightward deletion in this population, -alpha 3.7III, entirely removes the alpha 1-gene and the 4.2-kilobase deletion deletes the alpha 2-gene, these data indicate that the alpha 2-globin gene has a higher output than the alpha 1-gene, on single alpha-gene chromosomes.

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