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Dear ScienceLine, Im doing at report on Sickle cell disease and I have a few questions. Is it possible to get Sickle cell disease if you are not African- American? Does Sickle cell show it self at a certain age or is it just any age?
Question Date: 2007-01-29
Answer 1:

First of all, I want to remind you that Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects red blood cells.

I searched for information on your question. According to what I found, it is possible to get Sickle cell disease even if you are not African American. Sickle cell disease is quite variable in itself. Researchers know of only a few of the factors that contribute to this variability. Some are genetic. Others likely involve environmental influences. One of the most important genetic factors is thalassemia. One form of thalassemia, called -thalassemia, reduces the production of normal hemoglobin. A person with one normal hemoglobin gene and one thalassemia gene has thalassemia trait (also called thalassemia minor). Should one parent have sickle cell trait and the other have thalassemia trait, any child they conceive has one chance in four of receiving one gene for sickle cell disease and one gene for β-thalassemia . This condition is called sickle β-thalassemia. The severity varies. Some patients with sickle β-thalassemia have a condition as severe as sickle cell disease itself. Others have few and relatively mild problems. The gene for thalassemia is very common among people of Mediterranean origin. The sickle gene also exists in people of Mediterranean origin, although its frequency is much lower than that for thalassemia. People of, say, Greek or Italian background who have a sickle condition most often have sickle β-thalassemia.

The Sickle cell disease is an inherited condition; the disease comes with the newborn. Two genes for the sickle hemoglobin must be inherited from one's parents in order to have the disease. A one-in-four chance (25%) exists that a child will inherit two normal genes from the parents. A one-in-four chance (25%) also exists that a child will inherit two sickle cell genes, and has Sickle cell disease. A one-in-two chance (50%) exists that the child will inherit a normal gene from one parent and a sickle gene from the other. This would produce Sickle cell trait. Sickle cell trait produces no symptoms or problems for most people. Sickle cell disease can neither be contracted nor passed on to another person.

Here is the interesting web site where I got most of this information:


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