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J Exp Zool. 2001 Aug 15;291(2):169-74.

Current problems with the zootype and the early evolution of Hox genes.

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Tierärztliche Hochschule-ITZ, Division of Ecology and Evolution, Bünteweg 17d, 30599 Hannover, Germany.


"Hox cluster type" genes have sparked intriguing attempts to unite all metazoan animals by a shared pattern of expression and genomic organization of a specific set of regulatory genes. The basic idea, the zootype concept, claims the conservation of a specific set of "Hox cluster type genes" in all metazoan animals, i.e., in the basal diploblasts as well as in the derived triploblastic animals. Depending on the data used and the type of analysis performed, different opposing views have been taken on this idea. We review here the sum of data currently available in a total evidence analysis, which includes morphological and the most recent molecular data. This analysis highlights several problems with the idea of a simple "Hox cluster type" synapomorphy between the diploblastic and triploblastic animals and suggests that the "zootype differentiation" of the Hox cluster most likely is an invention of the triploblasts. The view presented is compatible with the idea that early Hox gene evolution started with a single proto-Hox (possibly a paraHox) gene. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 291:169-174, 2001.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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