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In studying the relationship between genetic abnormalities of red blood cells and malaria endemicity in the Vanuatu archipelago in the southwestern Pacific, we have found that of 1,442 males tested, 98 (6.8%) were G6PD deficient. The prevalence of GdPD deficiency varied widely (0%-39%), both from one island to another and in different parts of the same island, and generally correlated positively with the degree of malaria transmission. The properties of G6PD from GdPD-deficient subjects were analyzed in a subset of 53 samples. In all cases the residual red-blood-cell activity was < 10%. There were three phenotypic patterns. PCR amplification and sequencing of the entire coding region of the G6PD gene showed that the first of these patterns corresponded to G6PD Union (nucleotide 1360C-->T; amino acid 454Arg-->Cys), previously encountered elsewhere. Analysis of samples exhibiting the second pattern revealed two new mutants: G6PD Vanua Lava (nucleotide 383T-->C; amino acid 128Leu-->Pro) and G6PD Namoru (nucleotide 208T-->C; amino acid 70Tyr-->His); in three samples, the underlying mutation has not yet been identified. Analysis of the sample exhibiting the third pattern revealed another new mutant: G6PD Naone (nucleotide 497G-->A; amino acid 166Arg-->His). Of the four mutations, G6PD Union and G6PD Vanua Lava have a polymorphic frequency in more than one island; and G6PD Vanua Lava has also been detected in a sample from Papua New Guinea. G6PD deficiency is of clinical importance in Vanuatu because it is a cause of neonatal jaundice and is responsible for numerous episodes of drug-induced acute hemolytic anemia.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Am J Hum Genet

Volume

56

Pages

294 - 301