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Background: Beta-thalassemia is one of the most common genetic disorders in Thailand. Clinical phenotype ranges from silent carrier to clinically manifested conditions including severe beta-thalassemia major and mild beta-thalassemia intermedia.
Objective: This study aimed to characterize the spectrum of beta-globin gene mutations in pediatric patients who were followed-up in Phramongkutklao Hospital.
Patients and methods: Eighty unrelated beta-thalassemia patients were enrolled in this study including 57 with beta-thalassemia/hemoglobin E, eight with homozygous beta-thalassemia, and 15 with heterozygous beta-thalassemia. Mutation analysis was performed by multiplex amplification refractory mutation system (M-ARMS), direct DNA sequencing of beta-globin gene, and gap polymerase chain reaction for 3.4 kb deletion detection, respectively.
Results: A total of 13 different beta-thalassemia mutations were identified among 88 alleles. The most common mutation was codon 41/42 (-TCTT) (37.5%), followed by codon 17 (A>T) (26.1%), IVS-I-5 (G>C) (8%), IVS-II-654 (C>T) (6.8%), IVS-I-1 (G>T) (4.5%), and codon 71/72 (+A) (2.3%), and all these six common mutations (85.2%) were detected by M-ARMS. Six uncommon mutations (10.2%) were identified by DNA sequencing including 4.5% for codon 35 (C>A) and 1.1% initiation codon mutation (ATG>AGG), codon 15 (G>A), codon 19 (A>G), codon 27/28 (+C), and codon 123/124/125 (-ACCCCACC), respectively. The 3.4 kb deletion was detected at 4.5%. The most common genotype of beta-thalassemia major patients was codon 41/42 (-TCTT)/codon 26 (G>A) or betaE accounting for 40%.
Conclusion: All of the beta-thalassemia alleles have been characterized by a combination of techniques including M-ARMS, DNA sequencing, and gap polymerase chain reaction for 3.4 kb deletion detection. Thirteen mutations account for 100% of the beta-thalassemia genes among the pediatric patients in our study.
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