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Analysis of DNA from 852 Island Melanesians has revealed a high frequency of single- and triple-gamma-globin genes in this population. Homozygotes for triple- and single-gamma genes have normal hematologic findings, normal hemoglobin F (HbF) levels, and when there is coexisting alpha thalassemia, appropriate levels of Bart's Hb (gamma 4) at birth. In addition, we have identified an individual with a quadruple-gamma gene chromosome who also has a normal HbF level. All single-gamma genes were A gamma, all triple-gamma genes G gamma G gamma A gamma, and the quadruple-gamma gene G gamma G gamma G gamma A gamma. Analysis of G gamma:A gamma ratios in cord bloods and HbF levels in adults showed that these additional gamma genes are expressed and are down regulated appropriately by the fetal to adult Hb switch. Analysis of the restriction enzyme haplotypes of these various chromosomes indicates that intrachromosomal cross-overs are more likely to have produced these variants than interchromosomal recombination events.


Journal article



Publication Date





1611 - 1618


Adult, Crossing Over, Genetic, DNA, DNA Restriction Enzymes, Female, Fetal Blood, Fetal Hemoglobin, Globins, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Meiosis, Pregnancy