Intrachromosomal recombinations involving F8A, in intron 22 of the factor VIII gene, and one of two homologous regions 500 kb 5′ of the factor VIII gene result in large inversions of DNA at the tip of the X chromosome. The gene is disrupted, causing severe hemophilia A. Two inversions are possible, distal and proximal, depending on which homologous region is involved in the recombination event. A simple Southern blotting technique was used to identify patients and carriers of these inversions. In a group of 85 severe hemophilia A patients, 47% had an inversion, of which 80% were of the distal type. There was no association with restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) haplotypes. The technique has identified a definitive genetic marker in families previously uninformative on RFLP analysis and provided valuable information for genetic counselling information may now be provided for carriers without the need to study intervening family members and the diagnosis of severe hemophilia A made in families with only a nonspecific history of bleeding. Analysis of intron 22 inversion should now be the first-line test for carrier diagnosis and genetic counselling for severe hemophilia A and may be particularly useful when there is no affected male family member or when intervening family members are unavailable for testing.

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