The Homeobox as a Key for Understanding the Principles of the Genetic Control of Development

  • Walter J. Gehring


The discovery of the homeobox, and the Hox gene clusters have uncovered a general universal principle of the genetic control of development. In all bilaterian animals these Hox clusters determine the body plan along the antero-posterior axis. Despite a bewildering diver-sity of modes of development, ranging from animals with a fixed cell lineage and a predetermined egg architecture to organisms with a highly variable cell lineage whose development is primarily based on cellular interactions, all metazoans share Hox gene clusters, characterized by a high degree of sequence conservation and a colinear gene arrangement in which the Hox genes are arranged on the chromosome in the same order as they are expressed along the antero-posterior axis of the developing embryo. This arrangement can only be understood on the basis of evolution. Hox genes have provided the entry point for a newly emerging field, evolutionary developmental genetics.


Homeobox Gene Body Plan Homeotic Gene Homeotic Transformation Bithorax Complex 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter J. Gehring
    • 1
  1. 1.Biozentrum, Department of Cell BiologyUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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