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Bioessays. 2001 Feb;23(2):125-33.

A cluster of Drosophila homeobox genes involved in mesoderm differentiation programs.

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INSERM U.384, Clermont Ferrand Cedex, France.


Although genes involved in common developmental programs are usually scattered throughout the metazoan genome, there are some important examples of functionally interconnected regulatory genes that display close physical linkage. In particular the homeotic genes, which determine the identities of body parts, are clustered in the Hox complexes and clustering is thought to be crucial for the proper execution of their developmental programs. Here we describe the organization and functional properties of a more recently identified cluster of six homeobox genes at 93DE on the third chromosome of Drosophila. These genes, which include tinman, bagpipe, ladybird early, ladybird late, C15, and slouch, all participate in mesodermal patterning and differentiation programs and show multiple regulatory interactions among each other. We propose that their clustering, through unknown mechanisms, is functionally significant and discuss the similarities and differences between the 93DE homeobox gene cluster and the Hox complexes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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