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November 12, 1973

Sickle Cell Trait and Other African Genetic Markers

Author Affiliations

Palo Alto Medical Clinic Palo Alto, Calif

JAMA. 1973;226(7):790. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230070050022

To the Editor.—  Brittenham, in his letter (225:1120, 1973) commenting on the earlier paper by Gelpi and Perrine (224:605, 1973), points out that the early work by Lehmann on the Veddoid tribes of South India showed rather conclusively that the R0(cDe) blood group marker was not present in this population despite the high frequencies of the sickle cell trait, and that subsequent studies have shown that other African Negro genetic markers are conspicuously absent in this ethnic group. This by no means invalidates the implication in our report that diffusion of the sickle cell gene may well have come from a single, African source, and for the following reasons: (1) the frequency of other African genetic markers is not likely to parallel that of the sickle cell trait in white populations unless all of these African genetic markers have in common the same selective pressures; and (2) the