We describe an English family with an atypical gamma delta beta-thalassemia syndrome. Heterozygosity results in a beta-thalassemia phenotype with normal hemoglobin A2. However, unlike previously described cases, no history of neonatal hemolytic anemia requiring blood transfusion was obtained. Gene mapping showed a deletion that extended from the third exon of the G gamma-globin gene upstream for approximately 100 kilobases (kb). The A gamma-globin, psi beta-, delta-, and beta-globin genes in cis remained intact. The malfunction of the beta-globin gene on a chromosome in which the deletion is located 25 kb away suggests that chromatin structure and conformation are important for globin gene expression.
P Curtin, M Pirastu, Y W Kan, J A Gobert-Jones, A D Stephens, H Lehmann