THE genomes of several mammalian species contain at least two α globin loci and a single β globin locus so that the ratio of α- to β-globin genes is 2 : 1 or more1-3. Despite this difference in number of genes, reticulocytes from these species synthesise equal numbers of α- and β-globin chains indicating that compensatory regulation must occur. Cytoplasmic mRNA is an intermediate between the gene and globin protein, and it has been suggested that the cellular α/β mRNA ratio is an important factor in achieving balanced globin synthesis4-6. We report here an excess of 30% α mRNA on reticulocyte polysomes of rabbits, mice, and sheep. Our data also illustrate the potential for errors in studies in which only poly(A)+ RNA is assayed.
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