Genotype-Phenotype Study of β-Thalassemia Patients in Sabah

Hemoglobin. 2022 Nov;46(6):317-324. doi: 10.1080/03630269.2023.2169154. Epub 2023 Feb 23.


β-thalassemia is a serious public health problem in Sabah due to its high prevalence. This study aimed to investigate the effects of different types of β-globin gene mutations, coinheritance with α-globin gene mutations, XmnI-Gγ, and rs368698783 polymorphisms on the β-thalassemia phenotypes in Sabahan patients. A total of 111 patients were included in this study. The sociodemographic profile of the patients was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire, while clinical data were obtained from their medical records. Gap-PCR, ARMS-PCR, RFLP-PCR, and multiplex PCR were performed to detect β- and α-globin gene mutations, as well as XmnI-Gγ and rs368698783 polymorphisms. Our data show that the high prevalence of β-thalassemia in Sabah is not due to consanguineous marriages (5.4%). A total of six different β-globin gene mutations were detected, with Filipino β°-deletion being the most dominant (87.4%). There were 77.5% homozygous β-thalassemia patients, 16.2% compound heterozygous β-thalassemia patients, and 6.3% β-thalassemia/Hb E patients. Further evaluation on compound heterozygous β-thalassemia and β-thalassemia/Hb E patients found no concomitant α-globin gene mutations and the rs368698783 polymorphism. Furthermore, the XmnI-Gγ (-/+) genotype did not demonstrate a strong impact on the disease phenotype, as only two of five patients in the compound heterozygous β-thalassemia group and two of three patients in the β-thalassemia/Hb E group had a moderate phenotype. Our findings indicate that the severity of the β-thalassemia phenotypes is closely related to the type of β-globin gene mutations but not to the XmnI-Gγ and rs368698783 polymorphisms.

Keywords: Sabah state; XmnI-Gγ polymorphism; genotype-phenotype; β-globin gene mutation; β-thalassemia.

MeSH terms

  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Malaysia
  • Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Thalassemia*
  • alpha-Globins / genetics
  • beta-Globins / genetics
  • beta-Thalassemia* / genetics


  • alpha-Globins
  • beta-Globins