An Italian family in which heterocellular hereditary persistence of fetal haemoglobin (HPFH) interacts with both beta(+)- and delta beta-thalassaemia is described. The index case was an 8 year old girl who was presumed to inherit both heterocellular HPFH and beta (+)-thalassaemia from her mother and delta beta-thalassaemia from her father. She was healthy and never needed blood transfusions. The possible contribution of heterocellular HPFH to the less severe expression of the compound delta beta/beta(+)-thalassaemia heterozygosity is discussed. By DNA analysis the specific delta beta-thalassaemia defect on the gamma delta beta globin gene region has been established. In addition, a previously unreported association of a polymorphic restriction site haplotype with a beta (+)-thalassaemia mutation has been observed.
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