Evolution of chordate ParaHox gene regulation

Double whole mount in situ hybridisation of AmphiXlox (black) and AmphiCdx (red).

The ParaHox gene cluster is the evolutionary sister to the Hox gene cluster. It also seems to play a role in patterning aspects of the anterior-posterior axis of embryos like its Hox sister.

We are investigating how the ParaHox genes are regulated in the basal chordate lineages of amphioxus and sea squirts as a means to understand the fundamental mechanisms controlling these genes in chordates.

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  • Garstang, M.G. & Ferrier, D.E.K. Amphioxus SYCP1: a case of retrogene replacement and co-option of regulatory elements adjacent to the ParaHox cluster. Development Genes and Evolution (2018) 228(1), 13-30.
  • Garstang, M.G., Osborne, P.W., and Ferrier, D.E.K. TCF/Lef regulates the Gsx ParaHox gene in central nervous system development in chordates. BMC Evolutionary Biology (2016) 16: 57.
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  • Osborne, P.W., Benoit, G., Laudet, V., Schubert , M. and Ferrier, D.E.K. Differential regulation of ParaHox genes by retinoic acid in the invertebrate chordate amphioxus (Branchiostoma floridae). Developmental Biology, 327, 252-262.
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