α-Thalassemia is an inherited, autosomal recessive, disorder characterized by a microcytic hypochromic anemia. It is one of the most common monogenic gene disorders in the world population. The clinical severity varies from almost asymptomatic, to mild microcytic hypochromic, and to a lethal hemolytic condition, called Hb Bart's Hydrops Foetalis Syndrome. The molecular basis are usually deletions and less frequently, point mutations affecting the expression of one or more of the duplicated α-genes. The clinical variation and increase in disease severity is directly related to the decreased expression of one, two, three or four copies of the α-globin genes. Deletions and point mutations in the α-globin genes and their regulatory elements have been studied extensively in carriers and patients and these studies have given insight into the α-globin genes are regulated. By looking at naturally occurring deletions and point mutations, our knowledge of globin-gene regulation and expression will continue to increase and will lead to new targets of therapy.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.