Advances in technologies for screening and diagnosis of hemoglobinopathies

Biomark Med. 2014;8(1):119-31. doi: 10.2217/bmm.13.103.


Hemoglobinopathies constitute the most common monogenic disorders worldwide, caused by mutations in the globin genes that synthesize the globin chains of hemoglobin. Synthesis may be reduced (thalassemia) or underlie abnormal hemoglobins. Mutation interactions produce a wide range of disorders. For neonatal and antenatal screening, identification of affected newborns or carriers is achieved by hematological tests. DNA analysis supports definitive diagnosis, and additionally facilitates prenatal diagnosis procedures. Most methods used today have been developed over several decades, with few recent advances in hematology methods. However, DNA methods evolve continuously. With global migration and multiethnic societies the trend is from targeted, population-specific methods towards generic methods, such as Sanger sequencing (point mutations) and multiplex ligation probe amplification (deletions). DNA microarrays constitute an advanced DNA method for some mutation categories. The newest DNA technology is next-generation sequencing. Although not completely ready for routine use currently, next-generation sequencing may soon become a reality for some hemoglobin diagnostic laboratories.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • DNA / analysis*
  • Electrophoresis
  • Hemoglobinopathies / diagnosis*
  • Hemoglobinopathies / genetics
  • Hemoglobins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Mutation
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Thalassemia / diagnosis
  • Thalassemia / genetics


  • Hemoglobins
  • DNA