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Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell disease is a hereditary disease seen most often among people of African ancestry. Caused by mutations in one of the genes that encode the hemoglobin protein, the disease is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. The mutation causes the red blood cells to take on an unusual sickle shape. Individuals affected by sickle cell disease are chronically anemic and experience significant damage to their heart, lungs, and kidneys.

Sickle Cell Anemia
Images and animations are courtesy of the National Human Genome Research Institute's Talking Glossary (

Materials for Sickle Cell Anemia


Sickle Cell Anemia, 3D Animation with Narration

Description: An 1 minute 3D animation that shows how a single gene mutation can affect hemoglobin and result in sickle cell disease.


What Is Sickle Cell Anemia?

Description: A well illustrated article on sickle cell anemia, available in English and Spanish

FDA Approves First New Sickle Cell Drug in 20 Years

Description: The US Food and Drug Administration approved a new medicine to reduce the complications associated with sickle cell disease, a genetic blood disorder. The active ingredient is actually a widely available supplement, L-glutamine.

Genetics Education Materials for School Success - Sickle Cell Disease

Description: This robust guide for teachers and parents aims to help children with genetic conditions succeed in school-life.

Sickle Cell - Index of Information for Patients, Families, Teachers, Students, and Employers

Description: A Web-based resource committed to providing sickle cell patients and their families and health care providers with professional education, news, research updates and access to up-to-date sickle cell resources worldwide.

Sickle Cell Disease

Description: Questions answered by GARD Information Specialists, links to resources, information about research, conferences, genetic testing, and genetic services

Sickle Cell Disease

Description: Information on sickle cell disease and a listing of additional resources on this condition

Teen Health: Sickle Cell Anemia

Description: Sickle cell anemia information written for teens, video interview with affected teens, and links to information on related topics

Trait Profile: Sickle Cell Disease

Description: An overview of Sickle Cell Disease, available as a printable PDF handout.

What Is Sickle Cell Anemia?

Description: Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disorder in which red blood cells develop abnormally.

Interactive Tutorials

Central Dogma and Genetic Medicine

Description: The interactive includes descriptions of different steps in the pathways from gene to RNA to protein, information about a treatment strategy that targets each step, and an example of a genetic disease for which that strategy has been shown to work: examples include, cystic fibrosis, Huntington disease, and sickle cell disease.

Challenge and Hope: Sickle Cell Anemia

Description: An interactive tutorial describing the symptoms, treatment, and inheritance pattern of sickle cell disease.

Sickle Cell DNA

Description: Learn about Sickle Cell disease and help with DNA testing and genetic counseling of a virtual couple. A Teacher's Guide for incorporating the activity in a High School classroom is provided.

Teacher Resources

Genetics Education Materials for School Success - Sickle Cell Disease

Description: This robust guide for teachers and parents aims to help children with genetic conditions succeed in school-life.

Inheriting Sickle Cell Anemia (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: Students learn about the most commonly inherited mutation in hemoglobin beta that causes sickle cell anemia. Students learn how to construct a pedigree from family history information, will practice generating RNA and protein sequences from a DNA sequence, and will connect changes in DNA sequence to changes in protein behavior to symptoms of an inherited disease.

Mendelian Genetics, Probability, Pedigree, and Chi-Square Statistics (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: A lesson that requires students to work through a series of questions pertaining to the genetics of sickle cell disease and its relationship to malaria. These questions will probe students' understanding of Mendelian genetics, probability, pedigree analysis, and chi-square statistics.

Population Genetics (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: In this lesson, students simulate what happens to a population containing sickle cell trait carriers over several generations in the presence of a high, medium, or low incidence of malaria. Students analyze class data to understand trends in each population and the selective forces at play. Students also review and discuss real-world data.

Symptoms of a Mystery Disease (PDF 305.56 KB, Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: Students read a description of a patient with a mysterious disease and must decide what tests might help them understand the disease. Then, they investigate how the patient's oddly shaped blood cells (discovered in a blood test) lead to his symptoms.


Genomics - Towards a Healthier You

Description: A webcast presenting information on why genetics is important to health, plus information on genetic counseling as a career. The singer and performer T-Boz shares her personal story about living with sickle cell anemia as one example of genetic health issues.

Sickle Cell Educational Material

Description: Videos and information on sickle cell trait and sickle cell anemia