Evolution of the β-globin gene cluster in man and the primates

P. A. Barrie, A. J. Jeffreys, A. F. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The arrangement of primate β-related globin genes has been determined by restriction endonuclease mapping of genomic DNA from species ranging from prosimians to man. The arrangement of the entire ε{lunate}γγδβ-globin gene cluster in the gorilla and the yellow baboon is indistinguishable from that of man. Restriction site differences between these species are consistent with a surprisingly low overall rate of intergenic DNA sequence divergence of approximately 1% in 5 million years. A new world monkey (owl monkey) has a single γ-globin gene, suggesting that the Gγ-Aγ-globin gene duplication in man is ancient, and occurred about 20 to 40 million years ago. The β-globin gene cluster in the brown lemur, a prosimian, is remarkably short (about 20,000 base-pairs) and contains single ε{lunate}-, γ- and β-globin genes. The γ- and β-globin genes in this animal are separated by a curious gene containing the 3′ end of a β-globin gene preceded by sequences related to the 5′ end of the ε{lunate}-globin gene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-336
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 5 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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