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Hemoglobin. 1998 Mar;22(2):141-51.

Molecular basis of beta-thalassemia in the Maldives.

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Institute of Genetic Information, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.


We have systematically analyzed beta-thalassemia genes using polymerase chain reaction-related techniques, dot-blot hybridization with oligonucleotide probes, allele specific-polymerase chain reaction, and sequencing of amplified DNA fragments from 41 unrelated patients, including 37 beta-thalassemia homozygotes, three with beta-thalassemia/Hb E, and one with beta-thalassemia/Hb S. Four different beta-thalassemia mutations were detected in 78 alleles. These are the IVS-I-5 (G-->C), codon 30 (AGG-->ACG) [also indicated as IVS-I (-1)], IVS-I-1 (G-->A), and codons 41/42 (-TTCT) mutations. The distribution of the beta-thalassemia mutations in the Maldives is 58 alleles (74.3%) with the IVS-I-5 (G-->C) mutation, 12 (15.4%) with the codon 30 (AGG-->ACG) mutation, seven (9%) with the IVS-I-1 (G-->A) mutation, and one with the codons 41/42 (-TTCT) mutation. The first three mutations account for 98.7% of the total number of beta-thalassemia chromosomes studied. These mutations are clustered in the region spanning 6 bp around the junction of exon 1 and the first intervening sequence of the beta-globin gene. These observations have significant implications for setting up a thalassemia prevention and control program in the Maldives. Analysis of haplotypes and frameworks of chromosomes bearing each beta-thalassemia mutation suggested that the origin and spread of these mutations were reflected by the historical record.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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