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Cell Differ Dev. 1988 Nov;25 Suppl:39-44.

Expression of the homeobox gene, Hox 2.1, during mouse embryogenesis.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Embryology, National Institute for Medical Research, London, U.K.


This article reviews recent studies on the expression of the homeobox gene, Hox 2.1, during mouse embryogenesis, using the technique of in situ hybridization. Differential hybridization of radiolabelled antisense versus sense strand RNA is first clearly detected in sections of 8.5 day post coitum (p.c.) early somite embryos. At 12.5 days p.c., higher levels of Hox 2.1 expression are seen in the spinal cord, extending into the base of the hind brain. Hybridization of antisense Hox 2.1 RNA is also seen in the spinal ganglia, in the nodose ganglia of the Xth cranial nerve (which contains derivatives of the neural crest arising from the posterior hind brain), and in the myenteric plexus. Mesodermal cells of certain visceral organs also express Hox 2.1 RNA, in particular the mesoderm of the lung, stomach and meso- and meta-nephric kidney. Comparison of the spatial domains of expression of mouse homeobox genes reveals a pattern consistent with the idea that they play a role in anteroposterior positional specification during embryogenesis.

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