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To date, all of the chromosomal deletions that cause alpha-thalassemia remove the structural alpha genes and/or their regulatory element (HS -40). A unique deletion occurs in a single family that juxtaposes a region that normally lies approximately 18-kilobase downstream of the human alpha cluster, next to a structurally normal alpha-globin gene, and silences its expression. During development, the CpG island associated with the alpha-globin promoter in the rearranged chromosome becomes densely methylated and insensitive to endonucleases, demonstrating that the normal chromatin structure around the alpha-globin gene is perturbed by this mutation and that the gene is inactivated by a negative chromosomal position effect. These findings highlight the importance of the chromosomal environment in regulating globin gene expression.


Journal article



Publication Date





800 - 807


Chromosome Mapping, Chromosomes, Human, Pair 16, DNA Methylation, Globins, Humans, Sequence Deletion, alpha-Thalassemia