Present Status of Understanding on the G6PD Deficiency and Natural Selection

J Postgrad Med. Jul-Sep 2007;53(3):193-202. doi: 10.4103/0022-3859.33867.

Abstract

G6PD deficiency is a common hemolytic genetic disorder, particularly in the areas endemic to malaria. Individuals are generally asymptomatic and hemolytic anemia occurs when some anti-malarial drugs or other oxidizing chemicals are administered. It has been proposed that G6PD deficiency provides protection against malaria. Maintaining of G6PD deficient alleles at polymorphic proportions is complicated because of the X-linked nature of G6PD deficiency. A comprehensive review of the literature on the hypothesis of malarial protection and the nature of the selection is being presented. Most of the epidemiological, in vitro and in vivo studies report selection for G6PD deficiency. Analysis of the G6PD gene also reveals that G6PD-deficient alleles show some signatures of selection. However, the question of how this polymorphism is being maintained remains unresolved because the selection/fitness coefficients for the different genotypes in the two sexes have not been established. Prevalence of G6PD deficiency in Indian caste and tribal populations and the different variants reported has also been reviewed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromosomes, Human, X
  • Genetic Diseases, X-Linked / genetics*
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Malaria / immunology*
  • Selection, Genetic*