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Confirmation of a founder effect in a Northern European population (FRL) of a new beta-globin variant: HBB:c.23_26dup (codons 8/9 (+AGAA))

Beta-thalassemia is a genetic disease caused by a defect in the production of the beta-like globin chain. More than 200 known different variants can lead to the disease and are mainly found in populations that have been exposed to malaria parasites. We recently described a duplication of 4 nucleotides in the first exon of beta-globin gene in several families of patients living in Nord-Pas-de-Calais (France). Using the genotypes at 12 microsatellite markers surrounding the beta-globin gene of four unrelated variant carriers plus an additional one recently discovered, we found that they shared a common haplotype indicating a founder effect that was estimated to have taken place 225 years ago (9 generations). In order to determine whether this variant arose in this region of Northern-Europe or was introduced by migrants from regions of the world where thalassemia is endemic, we genotyped the first 4 unrelated variant carriers and 32 controls from Nord-Pas-de-Calais for 97 European ancestry informative markers (EAIMs). Using these EAIMs and comparing with population reference panels, we demonstrated that the variant carriers were very similar to the controls and were closer to North European populations than to South European or Middle-East populations. Rare beta-thalassemia variants have already been described in patients sampled in non-endemic regions but it is the first proof of a founder effect in Northern Europe. The new genetic panel FRL is under registration in EGA.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00010000624 -
EGAD00010000626 37
Publications Citations
Confirmation of a founder effect in a Northern European population of a new β-globin variant: HBB:c.23_26dup (codons 8/9 (+AGAA)).
Eur J Hum Genet 23: 2015 1158-1164