Transfusion. 2001 Jan;41(1):45-52.

PCR screening for common weak D types shows different distributions in three Central European populations.

by Christoph Gassner

Müller TH, Wagner FF, Trockenbacher A, Eicher NI, Flegel WA, Schönitzer D, Schunter F, Gassner C.



DNA sequencing showed RHD mutations for all weak D phenotypes investigated in a study from Southwestern Germany. Molecular classification of weak D offers a more reliable basis than serotyping and is relevant for optimal D transfusion strategies.

Study design and methods

Sequence-specific primers were designed to detect weak D types 1 to 5 and the partial D phenotype HMi in a modular set for conventional PCR analysis. Alternatively, all reactions were multiplexed into a single tube, and the products were identified after automated capillary electrophoresis by their size and fluorescence. Weak D phenotype samples from 436 donors in the Tyrol (Austria) and Northern Germany were investigated by PCR.


More than 90 percent of the weak D types identified by PCR represented type 1, 2, or 3. The distribution among the common types varied between the Tyrol and Northern Germany (p<0.0001). Three new RHD alleles were identified.


A PCR method of detecting the common weak D types was validated. This PCR system introduces a simple and rapid tool for routine DNA typing of weak D samples. The results confirmed that all weak D phenotype samples identified by current serologic criteria carry altered D proteins.

PMID: 11161244

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