alpha-Thalassemia: A disorder characterized by reduced synthesis of the alpha chains of hemoglobin. The severity of this condition can vary from mild anemia to death, depending on the number of genes deleted.Hemoglobin H: An abnormal hemoglobin composed of four beta chains. It is caused by the reduced synthesis of the alpha chain. This abnormality results in ALPHA-THALASSEMIA.Thalassemia: A group of hereditary hemolytic anemias in which there is decreased synthesis of one or more hemoglobin polypeptide chains. There are several genetic types with clinical pictures ranging from barely detectable hematologic abnormality to severe and fatal anemia.Hemoglobins, Abnormal: Hemoglobins characterized by structural alterations within the molecule. The alteration can be either absence, addition or substitution of one or more amino acids in the globin part of the molecule at selected positions in the polypeptide chains.alpha-Globins: Members of the alpha-globin family. In humans, they are encoded in a gene cluster on CHROMOSOME 16. They include zeta-globin and alpha-globin. There are also pseudogenes of zeta (theta-zeta) and alpha (theta-alpha) in the cluster. Adult HEMOGLOBIN is comprised of 2 alpha-globin chains and 2 beta-globin chains.Sickle Cell Trait: The condition of being heterozygous for hemoglobin S.Globins: A superfamily of proteins containing the globin fold which is composed of 6-8 alpha helices arranged in a characterstic HEME enclosing structure.Hemoglobin E: An abnormal hemoglobin that results from the substitution of lysine for glutamic acid at position 26 of the beta chain. It is most frequently observed in southeast Asian populations.Erythrocyte Indices: ERYTHROCYTE size and HEMOGLOBIN content or concentration, usually derived from ERYTHROCYTE COUNT; BLOOD hemoglobin concentration; and HEMATOCRIT. The indices include the mean corpuscular volume (MCV), the mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), and the mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC).Anemia, Sickle Cell: A disease characterized by chronic hemolytic anemia, episodic painful crises, and pathologic involvement of many organs. It is the clinical expression of homozygosity for hemoglobin S.Hemoglobinopathies: A group of inherited disorders characterized by structural alterations within the hemoglobin molecule.beta-Thalassemia: A disorder characterized by reduced synthesis of the beta chains of hemoglobin. There is retardation of hemoglobin A synthesis in the heterozygous form (thalassemia minor), which is asymptomatic, while in the homozygous form (thalassemia major, Cooley's anemia, Mediterranean anemia, erythroblastic anemia), which can result in severe complications and even death, hemoglobin A synthesis is absent.Erythrocytes, Abnormal: Oxygen-carrying RED BLOOD CELLS in mammalian blood that are abnormal in structure or function.Hemoglobin, Sickle: An abnormal hemoglobin resulting from the substitution of valine for glutamic acid at position 6 of the beta chain of the globin moiety. The heterozygous state results in sickle cell trait, the homozygous in sickle cell anemia.Hydrops Fetalis: Abnormal accumulation of serous fluid in two or more fetal compartments, such as SKIN; PLEURA; PERICARDIUM; PLACENTA; PERITONEUM; AMNIOTIC FLUID. General fetal EDEMA may be of non-immunologic origin, or of immunologic origin as in the case of ERYTHROBLASTOSIS FETALIS.Fetal Hemoglobin: The major component of hemoglobin in the fetus. This HEMOGLOBIN has two alpha and two gamma polypeptide subunits in comparison to normal adult hemoglobin, which has two alpha and two beta polypeptide subunits. Fetal hemoglobin concentrations can be elevated (usually above 0.5%) in children and adults affected by LEUKEMIA and several types of ANEMIA.Hemoglobin A2: An adult hemoglobin component normally present in hemolysates from human erythrocytes in concentrations of about 3%. The hemoglobin is composed of two alpha chains and two delta chains. The percentage of HbA2 varies in some hematologic disorders, but is about double in beta-thalassemia.Melanesia: The collective name for the islands of the Pacific Ocean northeast of Australia, including NEW CALEDONIA; VANUATU; New Hebrides, Solomon Islands, Admiralty Islands, Bismarck Archipelago, FIJI, etc. Melanesia (from the Greek melas, black + nesos, island) is so called from the black color of the natives who are generally considered to be descended originally from the Negroid Papuans and the Polynesians or Malays. (From Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, 1988, p748 & Room, Brewer's Dictionary of Names, 1992, p344)Heterozygote: An individual having different alleles at one or more loci regarding a specific character.Chromosome Deletion: Actual loss of portion of a chromosome.Chromosomes, Human, Pair 16: A specific pair of GROUP E CHROMOSOMES of the human chromosome classification.Hemoglobin A: Normal adult human hemoglobin. The globin moiety consists of two alpha and two beta chains.Heterozygote Detection: Identification of genetic carriers for a given trait.beta-Globins: Members of the beta-globin family. In humans, they are encoded in a gene cluster on CHROMOSOME 11. They include epsilon-globin, gamma-globin, delta-globin and beta-globin. There is also a pseudogene of beta (theta-beta) in the gene cluster. Adult HEMOGLOBIN is comprised of two ALPHA-GLOBIN chains and two beta-globin chains.Homozygote: An individual in which both alleles at a given locus are identical.Hemoglobins: The oxygen-carrying proteins of ERYTHROCYTES. They are found in all vertebrates and some invertebrates. The number of globin subunits in the hemoglobin quaternary structure differs between species. Structures range from monomeric to a variety of multimeric arrangements.Blood Protein Electrophoresis: Electrophoresis applied to BLOOD PROTEINS.Erythrocyte Count: The number of RED BLOOD CELLS per unit volume in a sample of venous BLOOD.Erythrocytes: Red blood cells. Mature erythrocytes are non-nucleated, biconcave disks containing HEMOGLOBIN whose function is to transport OXYGEN.Prenatal Diagnosis: Determination of the nature of a pathological condition or disease in the postimplantation EMBRYO; FETUS; or pregnant female before birth.Genotype: The genetic constitution of the individual, comprising the ALLELES present at each GENETIC LOCUS.Genes: A category of nucleic acid sequences that function as units of heredity and which code for the basic instructions for the development, reproduction, and maintenance of organisms.Intellectual Disability: Subnormal intellectual functioning which originates during the developmental period. This has multiple potential etiologies, including genetic defects and perinatal insults. Intelligence quotient (IQ) scores are commonly used to determine whether an individual has an intellectual disability. IQ scores between 70 and 79 are in the borderline range. Scores below 67 are in the disabled range. (from Joynt, Clinical Neurology, 1992, Ch55, p28)African Continental Ancestry Group: Individuals whose ancestral origins are in the continent of Africa.Phenotype: The outward appearance of the individual. It is the product of interactions between genes, and between the GENOTYPE and the environment.Syndrome: A characteristic symptom complex.Polymerase Chain Reaction: In vitro method for producing large amounts of specific DNA or RNA fragments of defined length and sequence from small amounts of short oligonucleotide flanking sequences (primers). The essential steps include thermal denaturation of the double-stranded target molecules, annealing of the primers to their complementary sequences, and extension of the annealed primers by enzymatic synthesis with DNA polymerase. The reaction is efficient, specific, and extremely sensitive. Uses for the reaction include disease diagnosis, detection of difficult-to-isolate pathogens, mutation analysis, genetic testing, DNA sequencing, and analyzing evolutionary relationships.DNA Helicases: Proteins that catalyze the unwinding of duplex DNA during replication by binding cooperatively to single-stranded regions of DNA or to short regions of duplex DNA that are undergoing transient opening. In addition DNA helicases are DNA-dependent ATPases that harness the free energy of ATP hydrolysis to translocate DNA strands.Pedigree: The record of descent or ancestry, particularly of a particular condition or trait, indicating individual family members, their relationships, and their status with respect to the trait or condition.Reticulocytes: Immature ERYTHROCYTES. In humans, these are ERYTHROID CELLS that have just undergone extrusion of their CELL NUCLEUS. They still contain some organelles that gradually decrease in number as the cells mature. RIBOSOMES are last to disappear. Certain staining techniques cause components of the ribosomes to precipitate into characteristic "reticulum" (not the same as the ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM), hence the name reticulocytes.DNA: A deoxyribonucleotide polymer that is the primary genetic material of all cells. Eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms normally contain DNA in a double-stranded state, yet several important biological processes transiently involve single-stranded regions. DNA, which consists of a polysugar-phosphate backbone possessing projections of purines (adenine and guanine) and pyrimidines (thymine and cytosine), forms a double helix that is held together by hydrogen bonds between these purines and pyrimidines (adenine to thymine and guanine to cytosine).Mutation: Any detectable and heritable change in the genetic material that causes a change in the GENOTYPE and which is transmitted to daughter cells and to succeeding generations.Italy