From the approximately 1,200 odorant receptor (OR) genes in the mouse genome, an olfactory sensory neuron is thought to express only one gene. The mechanisms of OR gene choice are not understood. A 2.1 kilobase region (the H element) adjacent to a cluster of seven OR genes has been proposed as a trans- and pan-enhancer for OR gene expression. Here, we deleted the H element by gene targeting in mice. The deletion abolishes expression of a family of three OR genes proximal to H, and H operates in cis on these genes. Deletion of H has a graded effect on expression of a distal group of four OR genes, commensurate with genomic distance. There is no demonstrable effect on expression of OR genes located outside the cluster. Our findings are not consistent with the hypothesis of H as an essential trans-acting enhancer for genome-wide regulation of OR gene expression.