Structure and in vitro transcription of human globin genes

Science. 1980 Sep 19;209(4463):1329-36. doi: 10.1126/science.6158093.


The alpha-like and beta-like subunits of human hemoglobin are encoded by a small family of genes that are differentially expressed during development. Through the use of molecular cloning procedures, each member of this gene family has been isolated and extensively characterized. Although the alpha-like and beta-like globin genes are located on different chromosomes, both sets of genes are arranged in closely linked clusters. In both clusters, each of the genes is transcribed from the same DNA strand, and the genes are arranged in the order of their expressions during development. Structural comparisons of immediately adjacent genes within each cluster have provided evidence for the occurrence of gene duplication and correction during evolution and have led to the discovery of pseudogenes, genes that have acquired numerous mutations that prevent their normal expression. Recently, in vivo and in vitro systems for studying the expression of cloned eukaryotic genes have been developed as a means of identifying DNA sequences that are necessary for normal gene function. This article describes the application of an in vitro transcription procedure to the study of human globin gene expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Cell-Free System
  • Fetal Hemoglobin / genetics
  • Genes*
  • Genes, Regulator
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Globins / genetics*
  • Hemoglobins / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Operon
  • RNA Caps
  • RNA Polymerase II / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Hemoglobins
  • RNA Caps
  • Globins
  • Fetal Hemoglobin
  • RNA Polymerase II