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Cell. 1985 Nov;43(1):9-18.

Homeo box gene complex on mouse chromosome 11: molecular cloning, expression in embryogenesis, and homology to a human homeo box locus.


The homeo box is a 180 bp protein-coding domain found within homeotic genes of Drosophila and conserved in a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate species. It has been suggested that the mammalian homeo box sequences may play a role in controlling pattern formation during embryogenesis. We report findings that support this hypothesis. We have cloned three overlapping recombinant phage clones that cover a region of mouse chromosome 11 that contains a cluster of four homeo boxes (the Hox-2 locus). This locus encodes multiple transcripts that are expressed during embryogenesis. Forty kilobases of the Hox-2 region is devoid of repetitive elements and shows extensive homology with the human Hox-2 locus. These results provide direct evidence for genetic expression during embryonic development, a conserved organization in comparison to the cognate human locus, and a complexity of organization and transcript expression similar to that found in Drosophila.

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