We have cloned and sequenced a genomic DNA fragment of chicken containing a cluster of DNase I hypersensitive sites (DHS) located 11-15 kb upstream from the first gene of the alpha-globin gene domain and including a constitutive DHS flanked by two erythroid-specific ones. A 1.2-kb subfragment of the DNA fragment under study located upstream to the constitutive DHS and colocalizing roughly with one of the erythroid-specific DHS was shown to possess the properties of a matrix association region (MAR). The cloned DNA sequences were tested for their ability to serve as promoters and/or influence transcription from the promoter of the alphaD globin gene. In the region studied, we did not find any promoters or enhancers that were active in erythroid cells. The whole DNase I hypersensitive region and some of its subfragments showed a silencing effect when placed downstream from the reporter gene. The expression of the reporter gene was completely abolished, however, when these DNA fragments were placed between the alphaD promoter and the reporter gene. Thus, they seem to act as transcription "terminators." Numerous polyadenylation signals (AATAAA) and an AT-rich palindrome were found within the sequenced DNA fragment. These observations are discussed within the frame of the hypothesis postulating that continuous transcription is essential for maintaining the active status of genomic domains. Furthermore, it is suggested that the DNA fragment studied contains a negative control element that keeps globin genes silent within the chromatin domain permanently open in nonerythroid cells.