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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2008;628:32-41. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-78261-4_2.

Anteroposterior regionalization of the brain: genetic and comparative aspects.

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Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.


Developmental genetic analyses of embryonic CNS development in Drosophila have uncovered the role of key, high-order developmental control genes in anteroposterior regionalization of the brain. The gene families that have been characterized include the otd/Otx and ems/Emx genes which are involved in specification of the anterior brain, the Hox genes which are involved in the differentiation of the posterior brain and the Pax genes which are involved in the development of the anterior/posterior brain boundary zone. Taken together with work on the genetic control of mammalian CNS development, these findings indicate that all three gene sets have evolutionarily conserved roles in brain development, revealing a surprising evolutionary conservation in the molecular mechanisms of brain regionalization.

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