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Genes Cells. 1996 Jan;1(1):11-5.

The master control gene for morphogenesis and evolution of the eye.

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Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland.


The human Aniridia, the murine Small eye, and the eyeless mutations of Drosophila affect homologous (Pax-6) genes that contain both a paired- and a homeobox. By ectopic expression of these genes, functional eyes can be induced on the legs, wings, and antennae of the fly, indicating that eyeless (Pax-6) is the master control gene for eye morphogenesis. The finding of Pax-6 from flatworms to humans suggests that eyeless is a universal master control gene and that the various types of eyes in the various animal phyla may have evolved from a single prototype.

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