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Gene. 2004 Mar 17;328:177-86.

Origin and diversity of the SOX transcription factor gene family: genome-wide analysis in Fugu rubripes.

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Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.


The SOX family of transcription factors are found throughout the animal kingdom and are important in a variety of developmental contexts. Genome analysis has identified 20 Sox genes in human and mouse, which can be subdivided into 8 groups, based on sequence comparison and intron-exon structure. Most of the SOX groups identified in mammals are represented by a single SOX sequence in invertebrate model organisms, suggesting a duplication and divergence mechanism has operated during vertebrate evolution. We have now analysed the Sox gene complement in the pufferfish, Fugu rubripes, in order to shed further light on the diversity and origins of the Sox gene family. Major differences were found between the Sox family in Fugu and those in humans and mice. In particular, Fugu does not have orthologues of Sry, Sox15 and Sox30, which appear to be specific to mammals, while Sox19, found in Fugu and zebrafish but absent in mammals, seems to be specific to fishes. Six mammalian Sox genes are represented by two copies each in Fugu, indicating a large-scale gene duplication in the fish lineage. These findings point to recent Sox gene loss, duplication and divergence occurring during the evolution of tetrapod and teleost lineages, and provide further evidence for large-scale segmental or a whole-genome duplication occurring early in the radiation of teleosts.

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