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Genes Dev. 1994 Sep 15;8(18):2137-50.

Homologs of the mouse Brachyury gene are involved in the specification of posterior terminal structures in Drosophila, Tribolium, and Locusta.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut fur Entwicklungsbiologie, Abteilung Biochemie, Tübingen, Germany.


The Brachyury (T) gene is required for notochord differentiation in vertebrates. We have identified a Drosophila gene, the T-related gene (Trg), with high similarity to T within a stretch of approximately 200 amino acids, the DNA-binding domain of T. Trg is expressed throughout embryogenesis, first at the blastoderm stage in the hindgut primordium under the control of the terminal gap genes tll and hkb, and then until the end of embryogenesis in the differentiating hindgut. Drosophila embryos deficient for Trg do not form the hindgut, a phenotype that can be rescued by a Trg transgene. Thus, a common feature of T and Trg is their requirement in specifying the development of a single embryonic structure. Homologs of Trg are also expressed in the developing hindgut of Tribolium and Locusta embryos suggesting a highly conserved function of Trg in insects. This conservation and the high similarity of T and Trg raise the question of a common evolutionary origin of the hindgut of insects and the notochord of chordates.

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