EMQN Best Practice Guidelines for molecular and haematology methods for carrier identification and prenatal diagnosis of the haemoglobinopathies.
This article has been amended since online publication. A corrigendum also appears in this issue.

Joanne Traeger-Synodinos*,1, Cornelis L Harteveld2, John M Old3, Mary Petrou4, Renzo Galanello5, Piero Giordano2, Michael Angastioniotis6, Barbara De la Salle7, Shirley Henderson3 and Alison May8 on behalf of contributors to the EMQN haemoglobinopathies best practice meeting

Haemoglobinopathies constitute the commonest recessive monogenic disorders worldwide, and the treatment of affected individuals presents a substantial global disease burden. Carrier identification and prenatal diagnosis represent valuable procedures that identify couples at risk for having affected children, so that they can be offered options to have healthy offspring. Molecular diagnosis facilitates prenatal diagnosis and definitive diagnosis of carriers and patients (especially ‘atypical’ cases who often have complex genotype interactions). However, the haemoglobin disorders are unique among all genetic diseases in that identification of carriers is preferable by haematological (biochemical) tests rather than DNA analysis.

These Best Practice guidelines offer an overview of recommended strategies and methods for carrier identification and prenatal diagnosis of haemoglobinopathies, and emphasize the importance of appropriately applying and interpreting haematological tests in supporting the optimum application and evaluation of globin gene DNA analysis.

European Journal of Human Genetics (2015) 23, 426–437; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.131; published online 23 July 201