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Reproduction. 2010 Aug;140(2):195-213. doi: 10.1530/REP-10-0100. Epub 2010 Apr 29.

The Rhox genes.

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Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA.


Homeobox genes encode transcription factors that have crucial roles in embryogenesis. A recently discovered set of homeobox genes--the Rhox genes--are expressed during both embryogenesis and in adult reproductive tissues. The 33 known mouse Rhox genes are clustered together in a single region on the X chromosome, while likely descendents of the primodial Rhox cluster, Arx and Esx1, have moved to other positions on the X chromosome. Here, we summarize what is known about the regulation and function of Rhox cluster and Rhox-related genes during embryogenesis and gametogenesis. The founding member of the Rhox gene cluster--Rhox5 (previously known as Pem)--has been studied in the most depth and thus is the focus of this review. We also discuss the unusually rapid evolution of the Rhox gene cluster.

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