The expression patterns of mouse Hox genes suggest a code whereby certain combinations of Hox genes specify a particular region of the anterior-posterior axis (Hunt and Krumlauf 1991). Particular sets of paralogous genes provide segmental identity along the anterior-posterior axis of the body. Evidence for such a code comes from two main sources: (1) comparative anatomy, in which the types of vertebrae in different vertebrate species are correlated with the constellation of Hox gene expression; and (2) gene targeting (knockout) experiments, in which mice are constructed that lack both copies of one or more Hox genes.
Hunt, P. and R. Krumlauf. 1991. Deciphering the Hox code: Clues to patterning branchial regions of the head.Cell66: 1075–1078.
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