Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers are moving closer to understanding how the global pattern of the skeleton of mammals is formed during development. In an exceptionally demanding series of experiments, the researchers knocked out entire sets of two families of genes suspected in playing a central role in establishing the pattern of the skeleton in the mammalian embryo.
Their findings regarding the "paralogous" gene families known as Hox10 and Hox11 establish that the genes play important roles in orchestrating the construction of the ribs, spine and limb bones. Paralogous genes are sets of genes that have overlapping function. They arose during evolution through gene duplication.
The studies on Hox10 and Hox11 were published in the July 18, 2003, issue of the journal Science by HHMI investigator Mario R. Capecchi and colleague Deneen M. Wellik, who are both at the University of Utah.
Jim Keeley | EurekAlert!
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