Hereditary haemochromatosis is an autosomal recessive disorder characterised by life-long excessive accumulation of iron. A candidate gene for hereditary haemochromatosis has recently been reported (HLA-H) and a specific missense mutation (Cys282Tyr) has been identified in 85% of patients with the disorder. We describe the rapid detection of this mutation using the polymerase chain reaction and restriction endonuclease digestion. The usefulness of this test for early diagnosis of hereditary haemochromatosis in asymptomatic family members is highlighted.
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