α THALASSAEMIA IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Oppenheimer SJ., Weatherall DJ., Higgs DR., Barker J., Spark RA.
Haemoglobin Bart's was detected in cord blood samples from 81% of 217 infants born in Madang on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. Analysis of the α globin genes of 30 infants and adults from the same region showed that all but 3 were heterozygous or homozygous for the deletion form of α+ thalassaemia. None of 18 cord blood samples from infants born in Goroka in the Eastern Highlands Province had haemoglobin Bart's, and in each case the α globin genes were normal. Preliminary geographical and linguistic analyses of both groups suggest that the prevalence of a thalassaemia may be related to altitude rather than to linguistic grouping and hence that resistance to malaria may be at least one reason why α thalassaemia is so common in some populations. © 1984.