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Dev Dyn. 2011 Jun;240(6):1475-92. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22621. Epub 2011 Apr 4.

Distinct and redundant expression and transcriptional diversity of MEIS gene paralogs during chicken development.

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Department of Cell Biology, School of Science, University of Extremadura, Badajoz, Spain.


Members of the Meis family of TALE homeobox transcription factors are involved in many processes of vertebrate development and morphogenesis, showing extremely complex transcriptional and spatiotemporal expression patterns. In this work, we performed a comprehensive study of chicken Meis genes using multiple approaches. First, we assessed whether the chicken genome contains a Meis3 ortholog or harbors only two Meis genes; we gathered several lines of evidence pointing to a specific loss of the Meis3 ortholog in an early ancestor of birds. Next, we studied the transcriptional diversity generated from chicken Meis genes through alternative splicing during development. Finally, we performed a detailed analysis of chick Meis1/2 expression patterns during early embryogenesis and organogenesis. We show that the expression of both Meis genes begins at the gastrulation stage in the three embryonic layers, presenting highly dynamic patterns with overlapping as well as distinct expression domains throughout development.

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