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Hox genes and the evolution of the arthropod body plan1


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    We dedicate this article to Dr. Edward Lewis, whose pioneering work on the homeotic genes in Drosophila laid the foundation for much of the work presented in this review.

* Author for correspondence (e-mail: )


SUMMARY 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.