The Hox gene cluster patterns the anterior-posterior axis of bilaterian animals. In animals such as mice the organisation of the genes within the cluster is intimately associated with how the genes are regulated and function during embryogenesis. In other lineages, such as flies, nematodes and urochordates there is no such constraint on cluster maintenance, and the Hox clusters in these animals have broken apart.
In order to understand the role that the Hox cluster has had in animal evolution it is imperative to discover the organisation of the cluster in a wide variety of lineages and the mechanisms regulating the genes in these diverse taxa. We are attempting to characterise the Hox clusters of several lineages of supposedly less-derived animals (amphioxus, polychaetes and priapulids) as a means to understanding the ancestral forms of the cluster across the bilaterians.
- Chipman, A.D. and Ferrier, D.E.K. et al. The first myriapod genome sequence reveals conservative arthropod gene content and genome organization in the centipede Strigamia maritima. PLoS Biology (2014) 12(11): e1002005.
- Osborne, P.W. and Ferrier, D.E.K. Chordate Hox and ParaHox gene clusters differ dramatically in their repetitive element content. Molecular Biology and Evolution (2010) 27(2), 217-220.
- Holland, L.Z., et al. The amphioxus genome illuminates vertebrate origins and cephalochordate biology. Genome Research (2008) 18, 1100-1111.
- Amemiya, C.T., Prohaska, S.J., Hill-Force, A., Cook, A., Wasserscheid, J., Ferrier, D.E.K., Pascual-Anaya, J., Garcia-Fernàndez, J., Dewar, K. and Stadler, P.F. The amphioxus Hox cluster: characterization, comparative genomics, and evolution. Journal of Experimental Zoology (Mol Dev Evol) (2008) 310B, 465-477.
- Monteiro, A.S. and Ferrier, D.E.K. Hox genes are not always Colinear. International Journal of Biological Sciences (2006) 2, 95-103.
- Ferrier, D.E.K. and Holland P.W.H. Ancient origin of the Hox gene cluster. Nature Reviews Genetics (2001) 2, 33-38.
- Ferrier, D.E.K., Minguillón, C., Holland, P.W.H., and Garcia-Fernàndez, J. The amphioxus Hox cluster : deuterostome posterior flexibility and Hox14. Evolution and Development(2000) 2, 284-293.
- Ferrier, D.E.K. and Akam, M. Organization of the Hox gene cluster in the grasshopper, Schistocerca gregaria. PNAS (1996) 93, 13024-13029.