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Hox Genes and Wavelengths

Submitted by rhallice on Thu, 11/23/2017 - 22:18

Hox genes are a group of related genes that control the body plan of embryos and Hox proteins determine appendages. Distal Hox genes Hoxa13 and Hoxd11-Hoxd13 were found to be the Hox genes involved in digit formation. GLI3 is the mediator that modulates the expression of distal Hox and acts as their inhibitors. Hox gene mutations caused more digits formed that were thinner and closer together. Some more extreme mutations caused all mutations to connect to one another forming almost a paddle looking hand. Also shown was that the hand size itself did not increase but only the number of digits changed. There is a correlation between distal Hox gene number or dosage level and digit wavelength in a model of a Turing-type reaction-diffusion mechanism. The lower the expression of Hox genes by mutants caused the increased digits of phenotypes and that is why if there was an over expression of these distal Hox genes then we would see less but much thicker digits. 

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