International Journal of Anthropology

, Volume 17, Issue 3–4, pp 139–151 | Cite as

Anthropological consideration on prevalence and fitness of β C and β S genotypes in Burkina Faso (a survey in the public schools)

  • Simpore J. 
  • Pignatelli S. 
  • Melis P. 
  • Musumeci S. 


Objective: To study the incidence of hemoglobinopathies (Hb C and Hb S) we have examined 15,367 students, aged 11.4+/-4.64 years (median 11; range 1–26), living in Burkina Faso (12,019 were students of 23 public schools of Ouagadougou and 3348 students of 7 public schools situated in six villages about 12–35 Km from Ouagadougou).

Results: In all schools, we found a prevalence of females (54.2%) over males (45.8%) with a high incidence of Hb AC (19.16%), over Hb AS (8.35%). As expected, the gene frequency of β C in the schools of Ouagadougou was 0.112+/-0.015 and of β S 0.049+/-0.012, and this was similar in village schools (0.128+/-0.010 and 0.049+/-0.09 respectively), irrespective of town latitude. In all groups studied, β S and β C gene frequencies were age dependent since the advantage of HbS carriers in a malarial region is prevalently expressed in the first years of life. In fact, β C gene frequency increases, and β S decreases with age. The Mossi, living mainly in Ouagadougou, show a gene frequency which is similar to the Bissa ethnic groups, where the β C gene frequencies (0.116 and 0.118) are higher than the β S (0.049 and 0.044 respectively). On the contrary in the Peuhl ethnic group β C and β S gene frequencies (0.049 and 0.049) are the same, while in the Yorouba ethnic group immigrated from Nigeria β S gene frequency is higher (0.117) than the β C (0.068), showing that different gene frequencies are found in different ethnic groups.

Conclusion: The difference in β S and β C genes frequencies (0.049 and 0.116) found in comparison with a previously performed study (Labie et al, 1984) in the same region (0.03 for the β S gene and 0.14 for the β C gene), may be due to migration flow of β S genes from the near Sahel region or to changes in life expectancy of children with β C and β S phenotypes. Moreover, the high percentage of SC (1,06%) and SS (0.188%) individuals detected with the present screening, compared with the lower percentages found by Labie et al in 1984, suggest that a modified environment can play an important role in reducing the morbility and lethality of β S genotype. However, even today the number of students affected by HbSC and Hb SS attending the schools remains low. Stricter controls of correlated diseases are necessary to guarantee healthier life conditions.

Key Words

Hb C Hb S schools Burkina Faso prevalence fitness 


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Copyright information

© International Institute for the Study of Man 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simpore J. 
    • 1
  • Pignatelli S. 
    • 1
  • Melis P. 
    • 2
  • Musumeci S. 
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre Medical Saint Camille (CMSC)OuagadougouBurkina Faso
  2. 2.Institute of Population GeneticsC.N.R.Alghero (SS)Italy
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Sassari C.N.R., Institute of Population GeneticsAlghero (SS)Italy

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