Evolution of Hox Gene Clusters

  • David E. K. Ferrier


The Hox gene clusters have been one of the most prominent paradigms within Developmental Biology. This stems from the great excitement that surrounded the discovery that the genes all contained the conserved homeobox motif and that the homologous genes were operating in broadly homologous ways in the development of organisms as phylogenetically widespread as flies and vertebrates. The sequence similarity between the genes based on the homeobox, and their specific genomic organization in both flies and vertebrates, immediately implied a particular mode of evolution of the Hox gene cluster by tandem duplication and, more intriguingly, a functional constraint on the organization of the cluster to conserve colinearity. This general picture still holds true, but our understanding of the nature and extent of the constraints on cluster organization have been modified in recent years as data has become available from a much wider selection of animal phyla.


Tandem Duplication ParaHox Gene Animal Phylogeny ParaHox Cluster Temporal Colinearity 
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© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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