A Natural Deletion of the HoxC Cluster in Elasmobranch Fishes

Published on 16. December 2011

Benjamin L. King, J. Andrew Gillis, Heather R. Carlisle, Randall D. Dahn.


Hox proteins are a metazoan-specific family of transcription factors that are required for developmental patterning. The genomic arrangement of Hox genes into four paralogous clusters is a primitive feature of jawed vertebrates. By using high-throughput sequencing, we demonstrate the absence of all HoxC transcripts from embryos of the shark Scyliorhinus canicula and the skate Leucoraja erinacea and the absence of all HoxC genes and two HoxC-associated microRNAs from the genome of L. erinacea. These data suggest a loss of the entire HoxC cluster in elasmobranch fishes and represent evidence for the natural deletion of an entire Hox cluster in vertebrates.

Science Vol. 334 no. 6062 p. 1517; DOI: 10.1126/science.1210912




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