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Genomics. 1997 Nov 1;45(3):580-90.

Relationship between the genomic organization and the overlapping embryonic expression patterns of the zebrafish dlx genes.

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Ottawa Civic Hospital, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y 4E9, Canada.


To understand the relationship between the expression and the genomic organization of the zebrafish dlx genes, we have determined the genomic structure of the dlx2 and dlx4 loci. This led to the identification of the zebrafish dlx1 and dlx6 genes, which are closely linked to dlx2 and dlx4, respectively. Therefore, the inverted convergent configuration of Dlx genes is conserved among vertebrates. Analysis of the expression patterns of dlx1 and dlx6 showed striking similarities to those of dlx2 and dlx4, respectively, the genes to which they are linked. Furthermore, the expression patterns of dlx3 and dlx7, which likely constitute a third pair of convergently transcribed genes, are indistinguishable. Thus, the overlapping expression patterns of linked Dlx genes during embryonic development suggest that they share cis-acting sequences that control their spatiotemporal expression. The evolutionary conservation of the genomic organization and combinatorial expression of Dlx genes in distantly related vertebrates suggest tight control mechanisms that are essential for their function during development.

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