Presence of an African β-globin gene cluster haplotype in normal chromosomes in sicily



African admixture in Sicily has been long suspected because of the presence of the sickle gene. Nevertheless, the degree of African admixture cannot be derived from the study of HbS frequency, since this gene was most likely expanded by the selective pressure of malaria, for a long time endemic to the region. We have examined 142 individuals from the Sicilian town of Butera (12% sickle trait) to search for other markers of the globin gene cluster less likely to be selected for by malaria. The Taql polymorphism in the intervening sequences between the two γ genes is informative. We have found only two instances of this African marker (Taql(-)) among 267 normal chromosomes, demonstrating that the admixture occurred at a much lower level than previously thought. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.