Epidemiological and clinical studies (Fleming et al. 1985; Perrin et al. 1982) indicate that hemoglobin (Hb) AS individuals have a selective advantage in malarial environments. Thus the high frequency of Hb S in human populations has been attributed to the decreased malarial morbidity and mortality experienced by Hb AS heterozygotes. It has also been suggested that Hb AS women have a higher fertility than that of Hb AA women, thus contributing to the elevated frequency of Hb S in malarial environments (Livingstone 1957). Firschein (1961) demonstrated a significantly greater fertility among Hb AS females, whereas Custodio and Huntsman (1984) documented no fertility differential between Hb AS and Hb AA women. Here I examine the reproductive careers of Hb AA and Hb AS subjects 40 years of age and older from Limon, Costa Rica. The purpose is to determine whether normal homozygotes and heterozygotes have significantly different fertilities. The research shows that these groups do not have significantly different completed family sizes (t = 0.38, ns) or significantly different numbers of pregnancies (t = 0.34, ns), live births (t = 0.36, ns), or abortions (t = 0.20, ns). My results support previous suggestions that differential fertility does not contribute to the maintenance of the Hb S polymorphism.
"Hemoglobin Genotype, Fertility, and the Malaria Hypothesis,"
3, Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol61/iss3/2