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thalassemia thal·as·se·mi·a (thāl'ə-sē'mē-ə)
Any of a group of inherited forms of anemia occurring chiefly among people of Mediterranean descent, caused by faulty synthesis of part of the hemoglobin molecule.
group of blood disorders characterized by a deficiency of hemoglobin, the blood protein that transports oxygen to the tissues. Hemoglobin is composed of a porphyrin compound (heme) and globin. Thalassemia is caused by genetically determined abnormalities in the synthesis of one or more of the polypeptide chains of globin. The various forms of the disorder are distinguished by different combinations of three variables: the particular polypeptide chain or chains that are affected; whether the affected chains are synthesized in sharply reduced quantities or not synthesized at all; and whether the disorder is inherited from one parent (heterozygous) or from both parents (homozygous)