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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Apr 27;96(9):5129-34.

Conservation of sequence and structure flanking the mouse and human beta-globin loci: the beta-globin genes are embedded within an array of odorant receptor genes.

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Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.

Erratum in

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1999 Jul 6;96(14):8307. von Doorninck JH [corrected to van Doorninck JH].


In mouse and human, the beta-globin genes reside in a linear array that is associated with a positive regulatory element located 5' to the genes known as the locus control region (LCR). The sequences of the mouse and human beta-globin LCRs are homologous, indicating conservation of an essential function in beta-globin gene regulation. We have sequenced regions flanking the beta-globin locus in both mouse and human and found that homology associated with the LCR is more extensive than previously known, making up a conserved block of approximately 40 kb. In addition, we have identified DNaseI-hypersensitive sites within the newly sequenced regions in both mouse and human, and these structural features also are conserved. Finally, we have found that both mouse and human beta-globin loci are embedded within an array of odorant receptor genes that are expressed in olfactory epithelium, and we also identify an olfactory receptor gene located 3' of the beta-globin locus in chicken. The data demonstrate an evolutionarily conserved genomic organization for the beta-globin locus and suggest a possible role for the beta-globin LCR in control of expression of these odorant receptor genes and/or the presence of mechanisms to separate regulatory signals in different tissues.

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