Genetics of Hb F/F cell variance in adults and heterocellular hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin

S. L. Thein, J. E. Craig

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Hb F and F cell values in normal adults vary considerably with a continuous distribution that is substantially skewed to the right implicating a polygenic influence. The high values of Hb F and F cells are transmitted in the condition referred to as heterocellular hereditary persistence fetal hemoglobin which should be regarded as a multifactorial quantitative trait, quite distinct from the classical pancellular hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobins. Several factors have been shown to influence F cell/Hb F levels in normal adults including age, gender, genetic determinants linked and unlinked to the β-globin locus on chromosome 11p. Two trans-acting quantitative trait loci for F cell variance have been mapped, one on 6q and the other on Xp, with at least one other implicated. As an initial step towards hunting for the other quantitative trait loci we have carried out a preliminary analysis of F cell variance in 182 pairs of monozygotic and 373 pairs of dizygotic twins. The correlation coefficient of F cell variance in monozygotic twins was 0.89, while that in the dizygotic twins was 0.51. Overwhelming evidence for a strong genetic component in the control of lib F/F cell levels is provided by a heritability of 0.87. However, the role and extent of contribution from the quantitative trait loci on 6q and Xp are still not known.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-414
Number of pages14
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • F cells
  • Hb F
  • Heterocellular HPFH
  • QTLs


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