Carrier screening and prenatal diagnosis for alpha-thalassemia with biphasic polymerase chain reaction.

P. L. Kuo*, T. M. Lin, K. F. Huang, N. G. Yeh, D. B. Wu, R. C. Wu, C. C. Tzeng, H. L. Wu, K. E. Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

5 Scopus citations


Alpha-thalassemia is the most common single gene disorder in Taiwan and Southeast China. The majority of alpha-thalassemic mutations in this area are alpha-thalassemia 1. Homozygous alpha-thalassemia 1 has been recognized as the most important cause of hydrops fetalis. To investigate the incidence of alpha-thalassemia 1 mutations and to characterize its molecular defects, cord blood electrophoresis was performed on 2,000 newborns, of which 99 (5%) cases were found to have hemoglobin (Hb) Bart's levels > 3.0%. A methodology using biphasic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with nesting primers was developed to characterize the alpha-thalassemia 1 Southeast Asia type (SEA) deletion in the cases with detectable Hb Bart's levels. The SEA deletion was found in 92 (93%) of 99 cases. Prenatal screening was performed on couples with abnormal hematologic indices, and PCR was used to detect couples heterozygous for SEA deletion. Prenatal diagnosis was performed in 21 cases, and four cases were found to have a homozygous SEA deletion. This strategy can be applied to couples who need prenatal genetic counseling for alpha-thalassemia major in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-769
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


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