Modelling human haemoglobin switching Academic Article uri icon


  • Genetic lesions of the β-globin gene result in haemoglobinopathies such as β-thalassemia and sickle cell disease. To discover and test new molecular medicines for β-haemoglobinopathies, cell-based and animal models are now being widely utilised. However, multiple in vitro and in vivo models are required due to the complex structure and regulatory mechanisms of the human globin gene locus, subtle species-specific differences in blood cell development, and the influence of epigenetic factors. Advances in genome sequencing, gene editing, and precision medicine have enabled the first generation of molecular therapies aimed at reactivating, repairing, or replacing silenced or damaged globin genes. Here we compare and contrast current animal and cell-based models, highlighting their complementary strengths, reflecting on how they have informed the scope and direction of the field, and describing some of the novel molecular and precision medicines currently under development or in clinical trial.

publication date

  • 2019