Expression patterns of Antennapedia-like homeogenes in the mouse embryo show many similarities o those of their homologues in Drosophila. It is argued here that homeogenes may regulate development of the body plan in mouse by mechanisms similar to those used in Drosophila. In particular, they may differentially specify positional address of cell groups within lineage compartments along the body axes. In vertebrates, a single ancestral homeogene cluster has become duplicated to give four separate clusters. Comparisons of homeogene expression patterns between different clusters of the mouse suggest ways in which duplication has permitted development of a more complex body plan. Cluster duplication may therefore have provided a selective advantage during vertebrate evolution.