Expression of embryonic hemoglobin genes in mice heterozygous for alpha-thalassemia or beta-duplication traits and in mice heterozygous for both traits. Academic Article uri icon


  • Hemoglobins of mouse embryos at 11.5 through 16.5 days of gestation were separated by electrophoresis on cellulose acetate and quantitated by a scanning densitometer to study the effects of two radiation-induced mutations on the expression of embryonic hemoglobin genes in mice. Normal mice produce three kinds of embryonic hemoglobins. In heterozygous -thalassemic embryos, expression of EI (x2y2) and EII (2y2) is deficient because the x- and -globin genes of one of the allelic pairs of Hba on chromosome 11 was deleted or otherwise inactivated by X irradiation. Simultaneous inactivation of the x- and -globin genes indicates that these genes must be closely linked. Reduced x- and -chain synthesis results in an excess of y chains that associate as homotetramers. This unique y4 hemoglobin also appears in -duplication embryos where excess y chains are produced by the presence of three rather than two functional alleles of y- and -globin genes. In double heterozygotes, which have a single functional allele of x- and -globin genes and three functional alleles of y- and -globin genes, synthesis of and non- chains is severely imbalanced and half of the total hemoglobin is y4. Mouse y4 has a high affinity for oxygen, P50 of less than 10 mm Hg, but it lacks cooperativity so is inefficient for oxygen transport. The death of double heterozygotes in late fetal or neonatal life may be due in large part to oxygen deprivation to the tissues. 1981.

published proceedings

  • Dev Biol

author list (cited authors)

  • Popp, R. A., Marsh, C. L., & Skow, L. C.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Popp, RA||Marsh, CL||Skow, LC

publication date

  • January 1981