Cloning and sequencing of the gamma-globin gene of a sickle cell anemia patient homozygous for the Bantu haplotype has revealed a gene conversion that involves the replacement of an A gamma sequence by a G gamma sequence in the promoter area of the A gamma gene. This event is similar to another gene conversion believed to be responsible for the very high homology between gamma-globin genes, suggesting that the promoter area of these genes is prone to this type of genetic rearrangement. Further analysis demonstrated that the chromosome bearing this gene conversion has a very high frequency among Bantu chromosomes and a very low or nil frequency in other haplotypes linked to the beta s gene. No correlation was found between the G gamma/A gamma ratio and the presence of the gene conversion among Bantu haplotype patients, thus excluding a portion of the gamma gene sequence in the determination of this ratio.
E E Bouhassira, H Lachman, R Krishnamoorthy, D Labie, R L Nagel