In this study we have characterised by oligonucleotide hybridisation and direct restriction endonuclease analysis the beta thalassaemia mutation in 494 Sardinian beta thalassaemia heterozygotes. The most prevalent mutation, accounting for 95.4% of the cases, was the nonsense mutation at codon 39. The remainder, in decreasing order of frequency, were a frameshift at codon 6 (2.2%), beta + IVS-1, nt 110 (0.4%), and beta + IVS-2, nt 745 (0.4%). This information allows prenatal diagnosis by DNA analysis to be made in the great majority of Sardinian couples at risk for beta thalassaemia.
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