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The Fox genes are united by encoding a fork head domain, a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)-binding domain of the winged-helix type that marks these genes as encoding transcription factors. Vertebrate Fox genes are classified into 23 subclasses named from FoxA to FoxS. We have surveyed the genome of the amphioxus Branchiostoma floridae, identifying 32 distinct Fox genes representing 21 of these 23 subclasses. The missing subclasses, FoxR and FoxS, are specific to vertebrates, and in addition, B. floridae has one further group, FoxAB, that is not found in vertebrates. Hence, we conclude B. floridae has maintained a high level of Fox gene diversity. Expressed sequence tag and complementary DNA sequence data support the expression of 23 genes. Several linkages between B. floridae Fox genes were noted, including some that have evolved relatively recently via tandem duplication in the amphioxus lineage and others that are more ancient.

Original publication




Journal article


Dev Genes Evol

Publication Date





629 - 638


Animals, Chordata, Nonvertebrate, Evolution, Molecular, Forkhead Transcription Factors, Gene Expression, Phylogeny