Open Access Open Badges Research article

RHD allele distribution in Africans of Mali

Franz F Wagner125, Joann M Moulds3, Anatole Tounkara4, Bourema Kouriba4 and Willy A Flegel12*

Author Affiliations

1 From the Department of Transfusion Medicine, University Hospital, Ulm, Germany

2 Institute for Clinical Transfusion Medicine and Immunogenetics Ulm, Germany

3 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, USA

4 Centre National de Transfusion Sanguine, Bamako, Mali

5 Blood Service of the German Red Cross N.S.T.O.B., Springe, Germany

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BMC Genetics 2003, 4:14  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-4-14

Published: 24 September 2003



Aberrant and non-functional RHD alleles are much more frequent in Africans than in Europeans. The DAU cluster of RHD alleles exemplifies that the alleles frequent in Africans have evaded recognition until recently. A comprehensive survey of RHD alleles in any African population was lacking.


We surveyed the molecular structure and frequency of RHD alleles in Mali (West Africa) by evaluating 116 haplotypes. Only 69% could be attributed to standard RHD (55%) or the RHD deletion (14%). The aberrant RHD allele DAU-0 was predicted for 19%, RHDΨ for 7% and Ccdes for 4% of all haplotypes. DAU-3 and the new RHD allele RHD(L207F), dubbed DMA, were found in one haplotype each. A PCR-RFLP for the detection of the hybrid Rhesus box diagnostic for the RHD deletion in Europeans was false positive in 9 individuals, including all carriers of RHDΨ . Including two silent mutations and the RHD deletion, a total of 9 alleles could be differentiated.


Besides standard RHD and the RHD deletion, DAU-0, RHDΨ and Ccdes are major alleles in Mali. Our survey proved that the most frequent alleles of West Africans have been recognized allowing to devise reliable genotyping and phenotyping strategies.

Rhesus; Rh; partial D antigen; red cell antigen; RHD gene; genotyping