History of Sickle Cell
Understanding the background of sickle cell can help you and your loved ones have more meaningful conversations about sickle cell awareness.
Evolution of Sickle Cell
As you may have already learned, a person has sickle cell trait when they inherit one copy of an abnormal (sickle) HBB gene and one copy of a normal HBB gene. What’s interesting to note is that humans began developing the abnormal HBB gene as an evolutionary response to malaria.
This is because the parasite that causes malaria is halted by sickled cells, making people who carry sickle cell trait more resistant to the disease. This is also why sickle cell trait occurs more frequently among those who are descendants of tropical and sub-tropical regions where malaria is or was common.