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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 1997 Oct;8(2):218-24.

A PCR survey of hox genes in the sea star, Asterina minor.

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Geological Institute, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, 113, Japan.


The sea star, Asterina minor, was surveyed for Hox genes using the method of PCR and subsequent sequence determination. Seven different Hox-type homeobox fragments and homeobox fragments of two other types, the Gbx-type and the Xlox-type, were identified. The results of comparative analysis with known homeobox sequences suggest that the sea star has only one Hox gene cluster including two genes of the anterior group, four genes of the medial group, and one gene of the posterior group. The existence of a gene of the cognate group 1 has not been known in echinoderm species. Each of the other fragments indicated a definite relationship with one of sea urchin homeoboxes. The hypothetical cluster in the sea star is consistent with the results published for another class of echinoderm, sea urchins, in the putative number of cluster. The present result provides strong evidence that a single Hox cluster is common to echinoderms and its structure in the anterior region is more similar to other deuterostomes than previously thought.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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