Evolution of chordate ParaHox gene regulation

Double whole mount in situ hybridisation of AmphiXlox (black) and AmphiCdx (red).

The ParaHox gene cluster is the evolutionary sister to the Hox gene cluster. It has so far only been characterised in deuterostome taxa, where it also seems to play a role in patterning aspects of the anterior-posterior axis of embryos like its Hox sister.

We are investigating how the ParaHox genes are regulated in the basal chordate lineages of amphioxus and sea squirts as a means to understand the fundamental mechanisms controlling these genes in chordates.

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