The objective of our proposal is to create a phylogenetic tree examining the possibility of using the HOXC gene as an indicator of the phylogeny. One specific aim of the proposal is to identify highly conserved genes that are present in vertebrates. In preliminary work, we found that one example of a highly conserved gene is the BOP1 gene present in ribosomal DNA. Further research done on HOX genes has noted that the duplication of HOX clusters is shared by all vertebrae (Ruddle et al. 1994). The statement motivated our group to propose that the HOX genes express little variation in vertebrae, and test the statement by knowing how consistent this data would be if we were to expand our subject of interest to a whole kingdom, rather than specific subjects used for their evidence (chicken, zebrafish, Xenopus, and newt). We will now look into HOX genes to see how similar or different expression of the HOX gene is throughout the Animalia kingdom.
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