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Prevalence and molecular characterization of Glucose-6-Phosphate dehydrogenase deficient variants among the Kurdish population of Northern Iraq

Nasir Al-Allawi1*, Adil A Eissa1, Jaladet MS Jubrael2, Shakir AR Jamal1 and Hanan Hamamy3

Author affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, University of Dohuk, Azadi Hospital road, 1014 AM Dohuk, Iraq

2 Scientific Research Center, University of Dohuk, Dohuk, Iraq

3 Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland

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Citation and License

BMC Blood Disorders 2010, 10:6  doi:10.1186/1471-2326-10-6

Published: 5 July 2010



Glucose-6-Phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is a key enzyme of the pentose monophosphate pathway, and its deficiency is the most common inherited enzymopathy worldwide. G6PD deficiency is common among Iraqis, including those of the Kurdish ethnic group, however no study of significance has ever addressed the molecular basis of this disorder in this population. The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of this enzymopathy and its molecular basis among Iraqi Kurds.


A total of 580 healthy male Kurdish Iraqis randomly selected from a main regional premarital screening center in Northern Iraq were screened for G6PD deficiency using methemoglobin reduction test. The results were confirmed by quantitative enzyme assay for the cases that showed G6PD deficiency. DNA analysis was performed on 115 G6PD deficient subjects, 50 from the premarital screening group and 65 unrelated Kurdish male patients with documented acute hemolytic episodes due to G6PD deficiency. Analysis was performed using polymerase chain reaction/restriction fragment length polymorphism for five deficient molecular variants, namely G6PD Mediterranean (563 C→T), G6PD Chatham (1003 G→A), G6PD A- (202 G→A), G6PD Aures (143 T→C) and G6PD Cosenza (1376 G→C), as well as the silent 1311 (C→T) mutation.


Among 580 random Iraqi male Kurds, 63 (10.9%) had documented G6PD deficiency. Molecular studies performed on a total of 115 G6PD deficient males revealed that 101 (87.8%) had the G6PD Mediterranean variant and 10 (8.7%) had the G6PD Chatham variant. No cases of G6PD A-, G6PD Aures or G6PD Cosenza were identified, leaving 4 cases (3.5%) uncharacterized. Further molecular screening revealed that the silent mutation 1311 was present in 93/95 of the Mediterranean and 1/10 of the Chatham cases.


The current study revealed a high prevalence of G6PD deficiency among Iraqi Kurdish population of Northern Iraq with most cases being due to the G6PD Mediterranean and Chatham variants. These results are similar to those reported from neighboring Iran and Turkey and to lesser extent other Mediterranean countries.