In general thalassemia is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner however

In general thalassemia is inherited in an autosomal

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genes results in a shortage of alpha globin, leading to alpha thalassemia. In general, thalassemia is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner; however, the inheritance can be quite complex as multiple genes can influence the production of hemoglobin. Most people affected by beta thalassemia have mutations in both copies of the HBB gene in each cell. The parents of an affected person usually each carry one mutated copy of the gene and are referred to as carriers. Carriers typically do not show signs or symptoms of the condition; although some carriers of beta thalassemia develop mild anemia. When two carriers of an autosomal recessive condition have children, each child has a 25% (1 in 4) risk to have the condition, a 50% (1 in 2) risk to be a carrier like each of the parents, and a 25% chance to not have the condition and not be a carrier.
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The inheritance of alpha thalassemia is complicated by the fact that mutations in two different genes (HBA1 and HBA2) are associated with the condition. People have two copies of the HBA1 gene and two copies of the HBA2 gene in each cell. For each gene, one copy is inherited from the mother and one is inherited from the father. If each parent is missing at least one gene copy, their children are at risk for having alpha thalassemia. However, the exact risk and the severity of each child's condition depends on how many gene copies are lost (deleted) and which combination of the HBA1 and HBA2 genes are affected.
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  • Fall '18
  • Arif Nadeem

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