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Pharmacol Ther. 1994;61(1-2):205-26.

Pax: genes for mice and men.

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Max Planck Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie, Abteilung Molekulare Zellbiologie, Göttingen, Germany.


The murine Pax family consists of nine genes containing a highly conserved sequence, the paired box. The expression of these genes is temporally and spatially restricted during development. Evidence gathered indicates that Pax genes are involved in the regionalization of the nervous system and in important inductive events leading to the formation of various organs. The demonstration that mutations in Pax-1, Pax-3 and Pax-6 are linked with various murine mutants (undulated, splotch and small eye) and human diseases (Waardenburg syndrome and aniridia) confirms the importance of these genes as essential morphoregulators. Recent observations also indicate that inappropriate expression of these genes can lead to the appearance of cancer.

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