Alpha Globin (HBA1 and HBA2) Sequencing and Deletion/Duplication
Comprehensive genetic test to detect alpha thalassemia or alpha thalassemia trait.
New York DOH Approval Status
Lavender (EDTA), pink (K2EDTA), or yellow (ACD solution A or B).
Transport 3 mL whole blood. (Min: 2 mL)
Ambient: 1 week; Refrigerated: 1 month; Frozen: unacceptable
Multiplex Ligation-Dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA)/Sequencing/Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
Background Information for Alpha Globin (HBA1 and HBA2) Sequencing and Deletion/Duplication
Alpha thalassemia is caused by decreased or absent synthesis of the hemoglobin alpha chain resulting in variable clinical presentations. Alpha (+) thalassemia results from variants of a single HBA2 globin gene (-a/aa) and is clinically asymptomatic (silent carrier). Alpha (0) thalassemia (trait) is caused by variants of both HBA2 globin
genes (-a/-a) or variants in the HBA1 and HBA2 globin genes on the same chromosome (--/aa) and results in mild microcytic anemia. Hemoglobin H disease occurs due to variants of three alpha globin genes (--/-a) and results in hemolysis with Heinz bodies, moderate anemia, and splenomegaly. Hb Bart hydrops fetalis syndrome results when variants occur in all four alpha globin genes (--/--) and is lethal in the fetal or early neonatal period. Alpha globin gene triplications result in three active alpha globin genes on a single chromosome. Nondeletional alpha globin variants may be pathogenic or benign; both may result in an abnormal protein detectable by hemoglobin evaluation. Pathogenic nondeletional variants often have a more severe effect than single gene deletions.
Incidence: Carrier frequency in Mediterranean (1:30-50), Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian (1:20), African, African American (1:3).
Inheritance: Autosomal recessive.
Cause: Pathogenic variants in the alpha globin gene cluster.
Clinical Sensitivity: 99 percent.
Methodology: Bidirectional sequencing of the HBA1 and HBA2 coding regions, intron-exon boundaries and 3' polyadenylation signal. Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) of the alpha globin gene cluster (HBZ, HBM, HBA1, HBA2, HBQ1) and its HS-40 regulatory region.
Analytical Sensitivity and Specificity: 99 percent.
Limitations: Diagnostic errors can occur due to rare sequence variations. Sequence analysis will not detect all regulatory region variants or variants in alpha globin cluster genes other than HBA1 and HBA2. Sequencing of both HBA1 and HBA2 may not be possible in individuals harboring large alpha globin deletions on both alleles. This assay is unable to sequence HBA2-HBA1 fusion genes; thus, HBA1 or HBA2 sequence variants occurring in cis with a 3.7 kb deletion or other HBA2-HBA1 hybrid gene will not be detected (e.g., Hb G -Philadelphia will not be detected when in cis with the 3.7 kb deletion). It may not be possible to determine phase of identified sequence variants. Specific breakpoints of large deletions/duplications will not be determined; therefore, it may not be possible to distinguish variants of similar size. Individuals carrying both a deletion and duplication within the alpha globin gene cluster may appear to have a normal number of alpha globin gene copies. Rare syndromic or acquired forms of alpha thalassemia associated with ATRX variants will not be detected.
Counseling and informed consent are recommended for genetic testing. Consent forms are available online.
Laboratory Developed Test (LDT)
|Component Test Code*||Component Chart Name||LOINC|
|2011709||HBA Seq, Del/Dup Specimen||66746-9|
|2011710||HBA Seq, Del/Dup Interp||35474-6|