Current status of thalassemia in minority populations in Guangxi, China

Clinical Genetics
H F PanT Huang


Thalassemia is one of the most common monogenic disorders in the world. In order to develop a community-based prevention program, we screened 12,900 individuals for alpha- and beta-thalassemia in Baise City, Guangxi, China, with hematological methods and molecular assays. We found that the frequency of carriers in this area for alpha-thalassemia is 15%. Beta-thalassemia carriers comprise 4.8% of the populations. Five mutations account for 98% of alpha-thalassemia [--SEA 46.7%; -alpha/4.2, 23.9%; -alpha/3.7, 21.7%; hemoglobin (Hb) Constant Spring, 6.5%; Hb Quong Sze, 1.1%]. Seven mutations in the beta-globin gene account for 99% of the mutations [codon (CD) 41/42 (-TCTT) (39.4%), CD 17(A-->T) (32%), CD 71/72 (+A) (7.4%), -28 (A-->G) (5.8%), IVS-2-654 (C-->T) (5.8%), CD26 (Hb E) (4%), IVS-1 (G-->A) (3.7%), and CD 43(G-->T) (1.9%)]. Most individuals with alpha-thalassemia major die in the uterus or shortly after birth. Among 106 patients with beta-thalassemia major followed by our clinic, the majority died before 5 years of age. Knowledge surveys about thalassemia were conducted. Our results show a severe lack of knowledge about thalassemia in both medical professionals and in the general populations. This study shows that thalass...Continue Reading


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