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Hox Genes

In his 1894 book, Materials for the Study of Variation, William Bateson coined the term Homoeosis with the following prose: The case of the modification of the antenna of an insect into a foot, of the eye of a Crustacean into an antenna, of a petal into a stamen, and the like, are examples of the same kind. It is desirable and indeed necessary that such Variations, which consist in the assumption by one member of a Meristic series, of the form or characters proper to other members of the series, should be recognized as constituting a distinct group of phenomena. ...I therefore propose...the term HOMOEOSIS...; for the essential phenomenon is not that there has merely been a change, but that something has been changed into the likeness of something else. The book was intended as a listing of the kinds of naturally occurring variation that could act as a substrate for the evolutionary process and Bateson took his examples from collections, both private and in museums, of materials displaying morphological oddities. Interestingly the person who also coined the term "Genetics" proffered little in the way of speculation on the possible genetic underpinnings of these oddities. It wasn't until the early part of the next century that these changes in meristic series were shown to be heritable.
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Table of Contents

Section I. Mechanisms of Activity 1. Regulation of Hox Activity: Insights from Protein Motifs Samir Merabet, Nagraj Sambrani, Jacques Pradel and Yacine Graba Abstract Introduction The Homeodomain The Hexapeptide Motif Additional Hox Functional Motifs Conclusion 2. Cis?Regulation in the Drosophila Bithorax Complex Robert K. Maeda and Francois Karch Abstract Genetics of the Bithorax Complex: The Model of Ed Lewis The BX?C Encodes Only Three Genes, Ubx, abd?A and Abd?B The Segment?Specific Functions Act as Segment/Parasegment?Specific Enhancers Initiation and Maintenance Phase in BX?C Regulation Initiation, Maintenance and Cell Type?Specific Elements within the Cis?Regulatory Domain The Cis?Regulatory Regions Are Organized in Segment?Specific Chromosomal Domains Chromatin Boundaries Flank the Parasegment?Specific Domains Elements Mediating Long?Distance Cis- and Trans- Regulatory Interactions Transvection Studies Promoter Targeting Sequences Promoter Tethering Element Intergenic Transcription in the BX?C MicroRNAs in the BX?C Conclusion 3. Maintenance of Hox Gene Expression Patterns Samantha Beck, Floria Faradji, Hugh Brock and Frederique Peronnet Abstract Introduction Genetics of PcG and trxG Genes PcG Proteins and their Complexes TrxG Proteins and Their Complexes ETP Proteins PcG and trxG Response Elements Recruitment of Maintenance Proteins to Maintenance Elements Role of Maintenance Proteins in Regulation of Transcription Epigenetic Marks Release of PcG Silencing Role of PcG proteins in Chromatin Replication Role of PcG Proteins in Stem Cells Future Research in the Field 4. Control of Vertebrate Hox Clusters by Remote and Global Cis?Acting Regulatory Sequences Francois Spitz Abstract Introduction Colinearity and Clustering of the Homeotic Genes: An Obligatory Functional Link? Vertebrate Hox Clusters are More Clustered Than Others Global Regulation of the Complex through Shared Mechanisms: The Retinoic Acid Connection High?OrderStructures Over the Complex and Colinearity Control of Vertebrate Hox Genes by Shared Internal Enhancers The Ins and Outs of Hoxd Gene Regulation The Role of the Flanking Regions in the Control of Vertebrate Hox Genes Control of the HoxD Cluster through Remote Enhancers Regulation of the HoxD Cluster and More: Global Control Regions and Regulatory Landscapes Remote Enhancers for the Other Vertebrate Hox Clusters? An Evolutionary Success Story and an Increasing Need for a Global Regulation Conclusion and Outlook for Hox Gene Regulation in the 21st Century Section II. Evolution of Hox Genes and Complexes 5. The Early Evolution of Hox Genes: A Battle of Belief? Bernd Schierwater and Kai Kamm Abstract The Hox System Phylogenetic Evidence Opposing Views Conclusion 6. Evolution of Hox Complexes David E.K. Ferrier Abstract Introduction Origin of the ProtoHox Gene Origin of the Hox Cluster from a ProtoHox Cluster, or Not? Expansion and Contraction of the Number of Hox Genes in Evolution Conclusion 7. The Nematode Story: Hox Gene Loss and Rapid Evolution Aziz Aboobaker and Mark Blaxter Abstract Introduction: Hox Gene Loss, the Third Way The Caenorhabditis elegans Hox Cluster, an Extreme Case of Gene Loss Tracing Hox Gene Loss through the Nematode Phylum: Mode and Tempo Sea Squirts and Nematodes: Why Do Both Groups Lose Hox Genes Hox Gene Loss in Flagrante Nematode Hox Gene Function: A Story of Novelty, Conservation and Redeployment Conclusion 8. Are the Deuterostome Posterior Hox Genes a Fast?Evolving Clas? Robert Lanfear Abstract The Distribution of the Posterior Hox genes in the Metazoa Early Duplications of the Posterior Hox Genes The `Deuterostome Posterior Flexibility' Hypothesis The Mechanistic Basis of Deuterostome Posterior Flexibility Conclusion and Future Directions Section III. Biological Function 9. Hox Genes and the Body Plans of Chelicerates and Pycnogonids Wim G.M. Damen Abstract Arthropods, Mandibulates vs Chelicerates Chelicerate Hox

About the Author

JEAN S. DEUT SCH, is Emeritus Professor of Genetics and Animal Biology, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris 6, Department (UMR 7622) "Biologie du Developpement". Under the supervision of Prof. P.P. Slonimski, he participated to the birth of mitochondrial genetics of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. During the '80s, he moved to the Institut Jacques Monod in Paris to study developmental genetics of Drosophila melanogaster, focusing on the genetics of the hormonal control of metamorphosis. In 1993, he was the first in France, together with Andre Adoutte, to undertake evo-devo studies, choosing the cirripedes, which have been Darwin's favourite animals, as a model, because of their so peculiar body plan. In a second step, his team studied the developmental genetics of other arthropods, including scorpions and pycnogonids. He is author of a number of scientific publications in international journals, and of three textbooks in French on Drosophila and genetics.

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