We have studied nearly 100 patients with beta-thalassaemia major and 60 patients with Hb H disease who were attending the Haematology Clinic of Guangxi Medical College. Treatment of the patients was limited and only a few patients with beta-thalassaemia major received blood transfusion(s). As a result, the severe anaemia has led to early death at 3-4 years for beta zero-thalassaemia homozygotes, and 8-12 years for beta(+)-thalassaemia homozygotes. Four beta-thalassaemia alleles are responsible for nearly 90% of all beta-thalassaemia chromosomes. This information has resulted in the initiation of a prenatal testing programme at the local level. The patients with Hb H disease maintained a haemoglobin level of 6-10 g/dl and early death was infrequently observed. The --SEA deletion was the major type of alpha-thalassemia-1, while three smaller deletions (-2.7, -3.7 and -4.2 kb) and two nondeletional alpha-thalassaemia determinants (Hbs Constant Spring and Quong Sze) were the alpha-thalassaemia-2 types.