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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2002 Sep;24(3):366-73.

Hox clusters and bilaterian phylogeny.

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Centre de Génétique Moléculaire du CNRS, UPR 3167, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


A large Hox cluster comprising at least seven genes has evolved by gene duplications in the ancestors of bilaterians. It probably emerged from a mini-cluster of three or four genes that was present before the divergence of cnidarians and bilaterians. The comparison of Hox structural data in bilaterian phyla shows that the genes of the anterior part of the cluster have been more conserved than those of the posterior part. Some specific signature sequences, present in the form of signature residues within the homeodomain or conserved peptides outside the homeodomain, constitute phylogenetic evidence for the monophyly of protostomes and their division into ecdysozoans and lophotrochozoans. These conserved motifs may provide decisive arguments for the phylogenetic position of some enigmatic phyla.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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