We report the isolation and expression pattern of a novel mouse homeobox gene, Hox-4.8. Hox-4.8 is the most 5'-located homeobox gene in the HOX-4 complex. Sequence analysis confirmed that Hox-4.8 is a member of the subfamily of AbdominalB-related Hox-4 genes and revealed strong interspecies conservation. As for the human locus, Hox-4.8 is probably the last Hox gene in this part of the HOX-4 complex. During development, Hox-4.8 transcripts are restricted to the extremities of the embryonic anteroposterior axis and limbs as well as in the developing tail bud and to the most posterior segment of the gut (the rectum). Within the limb mesenchyme, Hox-4.8 is expressed in more posterodistal regions than those of its neighbour Hox-4.7. Hence, Hox-4.8 expression appears to be related to the last significant phenotypic changes towards the extremities of the embryonic body and limb axes.