G A G G A G A G A γ: γ chain ratios were determined in homozygous beta thalassemia and cord blood samples using triton-urea polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The mean γ/ γ + γ proportion in the two groups were 0.62 ± 0.10 and 0.72 ± 0.03, respectively. There was no significant correlation of the gamma chain composition in either fetal hemoglobin or total hemoglobin levels; this suggests that these two factors do not influence gamma chain ratios. There was also no marked variation in the γ: γ ratios in beta thalassemia patients when they were divided into higher fetal hemoglobin (> 50%) and lower fetal hemoglobin (< 50%) groups. These observations are consistent with the finding of a selective advantage of γ chains over γ chains in disorders where the erythropoietic stress is higher than normal, and may be inherited as a specific genetic entity in haplotypic polymorphism. © 1990 The Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists.