Human alpha- and beta-globin genes were separately fused downstream of two erythroid-specific deoxyribonuclease (DNase) I super-hypersensitive sites that are normally located 50 kilobases upstream of the human beta-globin gene. These two constructs were coinjected into fertilized mouse eggs, and expression was analyzed in transgenic animals that developed. Mice that had intact copies of the transgenes expressed high levels of correctly initiated human alpha- and beta-globin messenger RNA specifically in erythroid tissue. An authentic human hemoglobin was formed in adult erythrocytes that when purified had an oxygen equilibrium curve identical to the curve of native human hemoglobin A (Hb A). Thus, functional human hemoglobin can be synthesized in transgenic mice. This provides a foundation for production of mouse models of human hemoglobinopathies such as sickle cell disease.

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