Patterns of inheritance of sickle cell anaemia

Content Author:
Dr Mark Fowler

Undergraduate bioscience or medical student

OER Features:

YouTube video

OER Details:

This resource introduces some genetic terminology – for example what is genotype, and what is phenotype. It then steps you through how sickle cell anaemia can be inherited, and provides different patterns of outcome.

Genetics of alpha and beta globin

Genetics Resources

Image: Ideogram explaining genetic notation by Viv Rolfe.
Creative Commons BY SA.
Content Author:
Dr Mark Fowler

MCQ Authors:
Malgorzata Rekas, Libor Hurt

Undergraduate bioscience, medical science


OER Features:

Animation series (and YouTube video) introducing genetics concepts at a basic level

Animation series on the genetics of alpha globin

Animation series on the genetics of ALPHA globin

Animation series on the genetics of BETA globin

Multiple choice questions accompanying the three resources (questions written by students)

OER Description:

These OERs are in the form of Flash animations published as SWF files and MP4 videos. They are bundled into complete learning resources and are complete with narrations. The quiz file contains 36 multiple choice questions and answers accompanying the resources. All of these animations are also published on YouTube.

The first is an introduction to genetic concepts from a basic understanding of DNA and chromosomes to genetic mutations. It provides a background before moving onto the animations that describe the genetics of haemoglobin alpha and beta mutations, including those mutations associated with sickle cell disease.

Further Resources:

The Virtual Genetics Education Centre, University of Leicester.

Cell Division Resource. University of Nottingham.

Mitosis Resource. University of Nottingham.

Meiosis Resource. University of Nottingham.


Frank B Livingstone – textbook on haemoglobinopathies


Livingstone Frequencies of Hemoglobin Variants 1985 Text Book

The SCOOTER SICKLE CELL DISEASE project is very proud to announce that today we are releasing as an open education resource one of the key works of one of the greatest anthropologists of the twentieth century, FB Livingstone. The work is: Livingstone, FB (1985) Frequencies of Hemoglobin Variants, Thalassemia, The Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency, G6PD Variants, and Ovalocytosis in Human Populations New York: Oxford University Press.

Frank B Livingstone (December 8, 1928 – March 21, 2005) is best known for elucidating one of the key insights underpinning theories of human evolution, namely the role of sickle cell and malaria in explaining human genetic variation. His classic article “Anthropological Implications of Sickle Cell Gene Distribution in West Africa,” published in 1958 in American Anthropologist, explored how the sickle cell gene was relatively absent in 1950s Liberia even though malaria was endemic. Livingstone tracked this apparent anomaly to the fact that, as relatively late adopters of agriculture (which meant clearing forests that previously had shaded and cooled flowing waters – conditions less favourable to mosquitoes, who require heated shallow pools of water for their larvae to breed) Liberians had only recently created the ecological niche suitable for the mosquitoes responsible for spreading falciparum malaria against which sickle cell trait provides a strong survival advantage during early infancy. As the selective genetic advantage takes a number of generations to build up, this explained the relative lack of the sickle cell gene in a malarial environment.

The book, Frequencies of Hemoglobin Variants, has been out of print for a number of years, but after discussion with Oxford University Press and with the kind permission of Frank’s daughter Amy, we have great pleasure in making the book available again through this open education resource.


Professor Simon Dyson, De Montfort University
Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell Disease Unit