A survey was made of 1,384 Malayan aborigines for frequencies of abnormal haemoglobin and hereditary elliptocytosis. The subjects were: 137 healthy adults (93 jungle police and 44 hospital personnel), 384 patients from the Ulu Gombak Aborigine Hospital, and 863 villagers from northern Pahang and Perak in West Malaysia. This led to the finding of 61 cases of haemoglobin E (Hb E)-hereditary elliptocytosis, a new genetic combination; 32 of the cases were studied in more detail. In those aborigines who did not have other diseases, the combination of the 2 abnormal genes was not associated with clinical symptoms or significant haematological abnormalities. Family studies showed that the genes for Hb E and for hereditary elliptocytosis were inherited independently.

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