Past malaria, thalassemia and woman fertility in southern Italy
Authors: Astolfi, P.; Lisa, A.; Degioanni, A.; Tagarelli, A.; Zei, G.
Source: Annals of Human Biology, Volume 26, Number 2, 1 March 1999 , pp. 163-173(11)
Publisher: Informa Healthcare
Abstract:The role of natural selection in maintaining the thalassemia polymorphism is examined in a southern Italy district, in the past affected by malaria endemia. The Haldane's hypothesis that the thalassemia heterozygotes enjoy more protection than the normal homozygotes against the risk of malaria infection, seems to be confirmed by this indirect study at population level. The higher number of children born of the women who lived in the highly endemic villages, where the highest proportion of heterozygotes occurs, supports the hypothesis that the woman fertility contributes to the thalassemia maintenance. The joint effects of the acquired and inherited immunities and of the reproductive compensation are assumed as the mechanisms through which malaria and thalassemia influence fertility.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 1999