Hox Lyrics Follow
Hox genes, a subset of homeotic genes, are a group of related genes that control the body plan of an embryo along the head-tail axis. After the embryonic segments have formed, the Hox proteins determine the type of appendages (e.g. legs, antennae, and wings in fruit flies) or the different types of vertebrae (in humans) that will form on a segment. Hox proteins thus confer segmental identity, but do not form the actual segments themselves.
The term "Hox" is a contraction of homeobox, of which Hox genes are a subset, in the field of genetics.
An analogy for the Hox genes can be made to the role of a play director that calls which scene the actors should carry out next. If the play director calls the scenes in the wrong order, the overall play will be presented in the wrong order. Similarly, mutations in the Hox genes can result in body parts and limbs in the wrong place along the body. Like a play director, the Hox genes do not act in the play or participate in limb formation themselves.
The protein product of each Hox gene is a transcription factor. Each Hox gene contains a well-conserved DNA sequence known as the homeobox. Hox genes are thus a subset of the homeobox transcription factor genes. In many animals, the organization of the Hox genes in the chromosome is the same as the order of their expression along the anterior-posterior axis of the developing animal, and are thus said to display colinearity.
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