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Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a surveillance system to prevent the synthesis of non-functional proteins. In β-thalassemia, NMD may have a role in clinical outcome. An example of premature translation stop codons appearing for the first time is the β-globin cd39 mutation; when homozygous, this results in a severe phenotype. The aim of this study was to determine whether the homozygous nonsense cd39 may have a milder phenotype in comparison with IVS1,nt110/cd39 genotype. Genotypes have been identified from a cohort of 568 patients affected by β-thalassemia. These genotypes were compared with those found in 577 affected fetuses detected among 2292 prenatal diagnoses. The nine most common genotypes, each with an incidence rate of 1.5% or over, and together accounting for 80% of genotype frequencies, underwent statistical analysis. Genotype prevalence was calculated within the overall group. Results are expressed as proportions with 95% confidence intervals; P≤0.05 was considered statistically significant. A binomial distribution was assumed for each group; z-tests were used to compare genotype frequencies observed in the patient group with frequencies in the affected fetus group. In the absence of selecting factors, prevalence of these two genotypes was compared between a cohort of 568 β-thalassemia patients (PTS) and 577 affected fetuses (FOET) detected during the same period. IVS1,nt110/cd39 was significantly more prevalent in FOET than PTS (P<0.0001), while there was no significant difference in prevalence of cd39/cd39 in FOET compared with PTS (P=0.524). These results suggest a cd39 genotype NMD mechanism may be associated with improved clinical outcomes in thalassemia major. 无义介导的mRNA 降解（NMD）
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