Thalassemia is typically caused by sequence variants in the HBA1, HBA2 or HBB genes. The common sequence variants include a wide range of sequence variants, such as Single Nucleotide Variants (SNVs), smaller insertion and deletions (Indels) as well as large, exon spanning Copy Number Variations (CNVs). A range of different techniques such as GAP-PCR, Sanger sequencing, reverse hybridisation and MLPA is traditionally required to assess all variants.
Testing for both Alpha Thalassemia and Beta Thalassemia can be a complex process. Workflows are laboratory specific and often require the use of several different techniques to obtain a result. Relying on a patchwork of methods presents challenges such as: