The INDIVIDUALIST

A Wiki about biochemical individuality

Polymorphism

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Description

Closely related to the hemoglobin variants are the thalassemias due to genes which suppress (or fail to activate) the synthesis of the alpha or the beta chain of hemoglobin. Beta thalassemia is the only one of interest in population studies. Heterozygotes with the normal allelic gene suffer from only a mild degree of anemia but appear to have a raised resistance to malaria, while homozygotes suffer from severe anemia and if untreated mostly die in childhood. The formal genetic situation is thus closely parallel to that involving hemoglobin S, and a similar process of natural selection seems to take place in malarial environments.(1)

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References


1. Mourant, AE. Blood Relations, Blood Groups and Anthropology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK 1983.

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