Abstract

Hemolysates of erythrocytes from more than a quarter million people in Alabama were electrophoresed on cellulose acetate, pH 8.4, and those samples exhibiting an abnormality were also electrophoresed in citrate agar, pH 6.0. The globin chains of mutants other than Hb S and C were electrophoresed in urea-mercaptoethanol buffers at both pH 8.9 and pH 6.0, and 60 of them were also analyzed structurally. Of about 6000 samples from whites, only three contained abnormal hemoglobins--Hb D Los Angeles, Hb J Baltimore, and one unidentified. Of 249,000 samples from blacks, about 29,000 contained electrophoretically detectable abnormalities, most of them associated with Hb S or C, present in a frequency of about 9% and 3%, respectively. About 1000 samples resolved into patterns of potential clinical significance. Twenty other mutant hemoglobins were detected, in various genetic combinations in 164 kindreds; four of these-Hb Alabama, Montgomery, Titusville, and Mobile-- were previously unknown. The methods used are rapid, economical, and well suited for large scale surveys. They provide highly specific characterizations of many mutant hemoglobins, and no discrepancies were found between the presumptive identifications based on these characterizations and the definitive identifications obtained from structural analyses.

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