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The tissue-specific and developmental pattern of expression controlled by the proximal promoter (position-348 to +15) derived from the human alpha-1-antitrypsin (h alpha 1AT) gene was studied in transgenic mice. The short promoter segment was linked to the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) reporter gene. The transgene showed highly specific expression in the liver and the correct developmental pattern of regulation. Interestingly, this short promoter targets expression to the liver with a greater specificity than that reported for larger alpha 1AT promoter fragments.