Evolution of hemoglobin and its genes

Ross C. Hardison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Insights into the evolution of hemoglobins and their genes are an abundant source of ideas regarding hemoglobin function and regulation of globin gene expression. This article presents the multiple genes and gene families encoding human globins, summarizes major events in the evolution of the hemoglobin gene clusters, and discusses how these studies provide insights into regulation of globin genes. Although the genes in and around the α-like globin gene complex are relatively stable, the β-like globin gene clusters are more dynamic, showing evidence of transposition to a new locus and frequent lineage-specific expansions and deletions. The cis-regulatory modules controlling levels and timing of gene expression are a mix of conserved and lineage-specific DNA, perhaps reflecting evolutionary constraint on core regulatory functions shared broadly in mammals and adaptive fine-tuning in different orders of mammals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbera011627
JournalCold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Evolution of hemoglobin and its genes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this