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Maltese researchers’ work published in Nature Genetics

The online version of the prestigious journal Nature Genetics last week published the results of research on the genetics of haemoglobin.

This research was conducted by scientists at the University of Malta (Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Department of Physiology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine) and the Thalassaemia Clinic at Mater Dei Hospital, with collaborators from the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and the University of Patras, Greece.

The renowned journal is published by Nature Publishing Group, which had also published the original description of the structure of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953.

The research manuscript, known as ‘Letters to Nature’, is entitled ‘Haploinsufficiency for the erythroid transcription factor KLF1 causes hereditary persis-tence of fetal hemoglobin’. It is co-authored by Joseph Borg and two other authors from Rotterdam and Patras. Mr Borg is a graduate student reading for his Ph.D. degree under the academic supervision of Prof. Alex Felice at the University of Malta.

He has been funded by the Malta Government Scholarship Scheme and a short-term fellowship from the Euro-pean Molecular Biology Organisation.

Prof. Felice directs research on haemoglobin at the University and Mater Dei, and is one of three senior authors from each of the collaborating institutions.

While the results of this research contribute to the understanding of human physio-logy in foetal development, it is anticipated they could also be useful to design new medicines to treat haemoglobin disorders, including Thalassaemia, which is one of the most common genetic conditions.

To view the abstract for this research, visit www.nature.com/ng/journal/vaop/ncurrent/pdf/ng.630.pdf.

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