Paralogous Hox genes: function and regulation

Annu Rev Genet. 1996;30:529-56. doi: 10.1146/annurev.genet.30.1.529.


The Hox homeobox gene family plays a pivotal role in regulating patterning and axial morphogenesis in vertebrates. Molecular characterization of the four Hox clusters has shown that they are evolutionarily related with respect to sequence, organization, and expression, suggesting they arose by duplication and divergence. Transgenic analysis has clearly demonstrated the functional roles of individual genes in a broad range of embryonic tissues, and in compound mutants has addressed the issues of cooperativity and redundancy. There is an emerging picture of the cis-regulatory elements underlying Hox expression, and for the 3' members of the clusters there is a considerable degree of conservation between paralogous genes with respect to their functional roles and regulatory control.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes, Homeobox*
  • Humans