Ahaptoglobinaemia in Melanesia: DNA and malarial antibody studies.
Hill AV., Whitehouse DB., Bowden DK., Hopkinson DA., Draper CC., Peto TE., Clegg JB., Weatherall DJ.
To assess the relative contributions of genetic and acquired factors, particularly malaria, to the high frequencies of ahaptoglobinaemia found in Melanesia we have performed DNA and malarial antibody studies in a population from Vanuatu. No gene deletion or rearrangement was found on gene mapping in any ahaptoglobinaemic individual and the frequencies of the Hp1 and Hp2 alleles in the ahaptoglobinaemic group were similar to controls. However, antibodies to Plasmodium falciparum were significantly elevated in the ahaptoglobinaemics. These data suggest that malaria rather than genetic factors is the major cause of ahaptoglobinaemia in Melanesia.