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The transcription factor GATA-1 is expressed in a subset of hemopoietic cells, where it mediates the cell-type specific expression of several genes. We have cloned the mouse and human GATA-1 genes. A region upstream to the first exon, and highly conserved between mouse and man, acts as an erythroid specific enhancer in transient assays, if linked to the GATA-1 or to the SV40 promoter. The activity of the enhancer is almost completely dependent on the integrity of a dimeric GATA-1 binding site.