Abstract Both cellular and molecular mechanisms regulate the expression of globin genes during development and differentiation.When a change occurs in the type of hemoglobin synthesized, it may be the result of a substitution of erythroid stem cell lineages or may arise through a modulation of globin gene expression after cells become committed to erythroid differentiation. We have investigated the relationship between the early to late embryonic hemoglobin switch and the primary to definitive erythrocyte change in chick embryos. Using double-label fluorescent antibody technique, we find the simultaneous presence of early and late hemoglobins in single erythrocytes of the definitive cell type. Synthesis of early embryonic hemoglobin is not restricted to the primary cell lineage. This evidence is most compatible with the hypothesis that erythroid cells become committed to the synthesis of specific globins after they have become committed to hemoglobin synthesis in general.