Gene Switches

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Fruit fly

Amazingly, all animals, from fruit flies to mice to people, rely on the same basic Hox-gene complex. Here we see a graphic of a mouse embryo viewed, again, from the side, with its anterior end to the left and its various Hox genes indicated above. If you compare this illustration with that of the fruit fly in the previous entry, you'll see how the same Hox genes used to encode the segments of the fly encode the brain and spinal cord as well as the spinal column of the mouse. The colored bars indicate each gene's expression domain in the brain and spinal cord, while the colored ovals show each gene's expression domain in the spinal column. (The purple ovals mark the expression domain of the Hox10 gene, which, along with Hox genes 11 through 13, is not found in the fruit fly and thus is not shown here.)

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