Characterization of Deletions of the HBA and HBB Loci by Array Comparative Genomic Hybridization.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


The Journal of molecular diagnostics : JMD, Volume 18, Issue 1, p.92–99 (2016)


Thalassemia is among the most common genetic diseases worldwide. α-Thalassemia is usually caused by deletion of one or more of the duplicated HBA genes on chromosome 16. In contrast, most β-thalassemia results from point mutations that decrease or eliminate expression of the HBB gene on chromosome 11. Deletions within the HBB locus result in thalassemia or hereditary persistence of fetal Hb. Although routine diagnostic testing cannot distinguish thalassemia deletions from point mutations, deletional hereditary persistence of fetal Hb is notable for having an elevated HbF level with a normal mean corpuscular volume. A small number of deletions accounts for most α-thalassemias; in contrast, there are no predominant HBB deletions causing β-thalassemia. To facilitate the identification and characterization of deletions of the HBA and HBB globin loci, we performed array-based comparative genomic hybridization using a custom oligonucleotide microarray. We accurately mapped the breakpoints of known and previously uncharacterized HBB deletions defining previously uncharacterized deletion breakpoints by PCR amplification and sequencing. The array also successfully identified the common HBA deletions --(SEA) and --(FIL). In summary, comparative genomic hybridization can be used to characterize deletions of the HBA and HBB loci, allowing high-resolution characterization of novel deletions that are not readily detected by PCR-based methods.