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Genomics. 1998 Mar 1;48(2):221-31.

Multiple copies of the ALA-D gene are located at the Lv locus in Mus domesticus mice.

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Center for Medical Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Incremental differences in delta-aminolevulinate dehydratase (ALA-D; the second enzyme of the heme biosynthetic pathway) activity among inbred mouse strains can be attributed to variation in the number of copies of the ALA-D gene. We have cloned and characterized the Lv locus from an inbred mouse strain (DBA/2J) that has three times the normal ALA-D activity levels. The entire 12-kb ALA-D gene plus 16 kb of flanking DNA are found in 28-kb tandemly repeating units. We used the derived nucleotide sequence surrounding the internal junction of the repeats to survey wild-caught mice and demonstrate that multiple copies of the ALA-D gene occur in 7 of 24 worldwide locations of Mus domesticus mice. Data are consistent with a model that high lead (Pb) in the environment may be providing a selective advantage to mice harboring multiple copies of the ALA-D gene, since the enzyme is potently inhibited by lead.

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