Sickle beta 0 thalassemia in Eastern Saudi Arabia
Pembrey ME., Perrine RP., Wood WG., Weatherall DJ.
The sickle cell (beta s) gene occurs at a high frequency in the oasis populations of Eastern Saudi Arabia. However, as compared with the disorder in Africans, sickle cell anemia runs an unusually benign clinical course in this populations; this has been attributed in part to the relatively high levels of fetal hemoglobin (Hb F) which characterize Saudi Arabians with this condition [1, 2]. As yet, there is no satisfactory explanation for this remarkable phenomenon. To learn more about the expression of the beta s gene in Eastern Saudi Arabia, we examined its interaction with beta 0 thalassemia. We found that remarkably high levels of Hb F in this population are not restricted to individuals with sickle cell anemia but also occur in compound heterozygotes for the beta s and beta 0 thalassemia (beta 0 thal) genes. Additionally, this study has characterized sickle cell-beta 0 thalassemia (S-beta 0 thal) in Eastern Saudi Arabia for the first time.