Hox genes and the evolution of the arthropod body plan

Evol Dev. Nov-Dec 2002;4(6):459-99. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-142x.2002.02034.x.


In recent years researchers have analyzed the expression patterns of the Hox genes in a multitude of arthropod species, with the hope of understanding the mechanisms at work in the evolution of the arthropod body plan. Now, with Hox expression data representing all four major groups of arthropods (chelicerates, myriapods, crustaceans, and insects), it seems appropriate to summarize the results and take stock of what has been learned. In this review we summarize the expression and functional data regarding the 10 arthropod Hox genes: labial proboscipedia, Hox3/zen, Deformed, Sex combs reduced, fushi tarazu, Antennapedia, Ultrabithorax, abdominal-A, and Abdominal-B. In addition, we discuss mechanisms of developmental evolutionary change thought to be important for the emergence of novel morphological features within the arthropods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antennapedia Homeodomain Protein
  • Arthropods / anatomy & histology*
  • Arthropods / genetics*
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Fushi Tarazu Transcription Factors
  • Genes, Homeobox / physiology*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Proteins*
  • Phylogeny
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Antennapedia Homeodomain Protein
  • Antp protein, Drosophila
  • Dfd protein, Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Fushi Tarazu Transcription Factors
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Hox3 protein, Ciona intestinalis
  • Hox3 protein, insect
  • Insect Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Scr protein, Drosophila
  • Transcription Factors
  • ftz protein, Drosophila
  • pb protein, Drosophila