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Alterations in the basal transcription rates of eukaryotic genes are believed to involve the binding of trans-acting factor(s) with specific DNA sequences in the promoter. We show here two interrelated events for the VTGII gene of the old, non-egg laying Japanese quail: alterations in the structure of the chromatin encompassing the gene, and binding of trans-acting factors to the promoter of the gene. Estradiol/progesterone alone or together cause alterations in the conformation of the chromatin of the promoter region of the gene. This may allow free access of nuclear protein(s) to the cis-acting elements, ERE, PRE and NF1, in the promoter of the gene and cause activation of transcription.