Evidence that the ancestral haplotype in Australian hemochromatosis patients may be associated with a common mutation in the gene

Am J Hum Genet. 1995 Aug;57(2):362-7.


Hemochromatosis (HC) is a common inherited disorder of iron metabolism for which neither the gene nor biochemical defect have yet been identified. The aim of this study was to look for clinical evidence that the predominant ancestral haplotype in Australian patients is associated with a common mutation in the gene. We compared indices of iron metabolism and storage in three groups of HC patients categorized according to the presence of the ancestral haplotype (i.e., patients with two copies, one copy, and no copies of the ancestral haplotype). We also examined iron indices in two groups of HC heterozygotes (those with the ancestral haplotype and those without) and in age-matched controls. These analyses indicate that (i) HC patients with two copies of the ancestral haplotype show significantly more severe expression of the disorder than those with one copy or those without, (ii) HC heterozygotes have partial clinical expression, which may be influenced by the presence of the ancestral haplotype in females but not in males, and (iii) the high population frequency of the HC gene may be the result of the selective advantage conferred by protecting heterozygotes against iron deficiency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Australia
  • Female
  • Haplotypes
  • Hemochromatosis / blood
  • Hemochromatosis / genetics*
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Iron / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation


  • Iron