Prenatal diagnosis of β-thalassaemia and sickle cell anaemia in Turkey

Şükrü Tüzmen, Ghazi O. Tadmouri, Ayşe Özer, Shahid M. Baig, Hilmi Özçelik, Seher Başaran, A. Nazli Başak

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27 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports our experience of molecular analysis and diagnosis of β-thalassaemia and sickle cell anaemia (HbS) in 70 prospective parents of Turkish descent and their fetuses. Molecular screening was carried out by allele-specific oligonucleotide (ASO) hybridization of amplified DNA to the 12 most common mutations in the Turkish population. By using this approach, we were able to define the mutation in 95 per cent of chromosomes investigated. Genomic sequencing led to the additional detection of three rare mutations: Cd 44 (-C), IVS-I-5 (G-C), and IVS-I-116 (T-G). All diagnoses were successfully accomplished and no misdiagnosis occurred. Consanguineous marriage appears to contribute significantly to the frequency of affected births in Turkey. Out of the 14 homozygous fetuses, six were the result of close consanguinity. This study indicates that fetal diagnosis of β-thalassaemia and HbS may be obtained in practically all cases, even in a heterogeneous population like the Turkish population, when early methods of fetal sampling are combined with polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based techniques. Until gene therapy becomes a reality, the only approaches to the control of haemoglobinopathies are prevention and avoidance. The most relevant and common aspects of the programmes, which have been very effective in reducing the birth rate of β-thalassaemia major in several at-risk areas of the Mediterranean basin, are the continuous educational campaigns directed at the population at large, the voluntary basis, and non-directive counselling. The most important challenge for the eradication of the haemoglobinopathies in Turkey is the organization of a nation-wide and comprehensive genetic preventive programme based on DNA technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-258
Number of pages7
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA analysis
  • prenatal diagnosis
  • sickle cell anaemia
  • β-thalassaemia


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