A gene that makes a protein called retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARA), which controls the activity of certain genes that help white blood cells mature. Mutations (changes) in the retinoic acid receptor alpha gene can occur when a piece of the chromosome containing the retinoic acid receptor alpha gene breaks off and joins with a gene called PML on another chromosome. These changes may cause too many immature white blood cells to build up in the blood and bone marrow. This can lead to an aggressive (fast-growing) type of acute myeloid leukemia called acute promyelocytic leukemia. The protein made by the retinoic acid receptor alpha gene is a type of transcription factor. Also called RARA gene.