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Haemoglobin Bart's was detected in cord blood samples from 81% of 217 infants born in Madang on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. Analysis of the alpha globin genes of 30 infants and adults from the same region showed that all but 3 were heterozygous or homozygous for the deletion form of alpha + thalassaemia. None of 18 cord blood samples from infants born in Goroka in the Eastern Highlands Province had haemoglobin Bart's, and in each case the alpha globin genes were normal. Preliminary geographical and linguistic analyses of both groups suggest that the prevalence of alpha thalassaemia may be related to altitude rather than to linguistic grouping and hence that resistance to malaria may be at least one reason why alpha thalassaemia is so common in some populations.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Lancet

Publication Date

1984

Volume

1

Pages

424 - 426

Keywords

ABO Blood-Group System/genetics Altitude Crossing Over (Genetics) Fetal Blood/analysis Gene Frequency Globins/genetics Hemoglobins, Abnormal/analysis/*genetics Human Infant, Newborn MNSs Blood-Group System/genetics Papua New Guinea Support, Non-U.S. Gov't Thalassemia/blood/epidemiology/*genetics