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Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder which causes an abnormal form of hemoglobin to be produced by the body. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. The blood disorder causes large numbers of red blood cells to be destroyed, and that leads to anemia.

Alpha globin and beta globin are the two proteins in Hemoglobin. A defect in the genes that play a role in the production of either of these proteins can cause Thalassemia. The two main types of thalassemia are: