Embryonic ζ-Globin Chains in Adults: a Marker for α-Thalassemia-1 Haplotype Due to a >17.5-kb Deletion
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Hemolysates from adults with the alpha-thalassemia-1 haplotype due to the greater than 17.5-kb deletion of both alpha-globin genes from the same chromosome were found to contain embryonic zeta (zeta)-globin chains (alpha-globin-like chains), as determined by a specific and sensitive radioimmunoassay and an electrophoretic technique. zeta-Globin chains were not present in hemolysates from adults with deletion of a single alpha-globin gene from one or both chromosomes. These results indicate that zeta-globin chains, which can be assayed by immunologic techniques, can serve as markers for the alpha-thalassemia-1 haplotype due to the greater than 17.5-kb deletion. The ability to detect zeta-globin chains may be useful in populations in which the gene frequency of the greater than 17.5-kb deletion is high, for screening couples at risk of having offspring with homozygous alpha-thalassemia.
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