What Do Hox Genes Do?


Quick Answer

Hox genes control the development of an organism. Specifically, they are a set of transcription factor genes that determine the anterior-posterior axis and the segments of an organism's body.

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What Do Hox Genes Do?
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Full Answer

Hox genes were first discovered in the early '80s. Researchers were studying genes that determined where parts of an insect's body are located. Mutations to hox genes can change where these segments are destined. For example, a leg can develop where an antenna normally does. The first Hox genes were identified in Drosophila flies. Later, they were found in vertebrates, reptiles and plants. Hox genes may also be called homeotic genes.

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