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The transcription factor Krox-20 has roles in the maintenance of segmentation and specification of segment identity in the vertebrate hindbrain. Overt hindbrain segmentation is a vertebrate novelty, and is not seen in invertebrate chordates such as amphioxus and tunicates. To test if the roles of Krox-20 are also derived, we cloned a Krox-20 related gene, AmphiKrox, from amphioxus. AmphiKrox is related to a small family of vertebrate Krox genes and is expressed in the most anterior region of the amphioxus brain and in the club shaped gland, a secretory organ that develops in the anterior pharynx. Neither expression domain overlaps with the expression of AmphiHox-1, -2, -3 or -4, suggesting that the roles of Krox-20 in hindbrain segmentation and in Hox gene regulation were acquired concomitant with the duplication of Krox genes in vertebrate evolution.

Original publication




Journal article


Dev Genes Evol

Publication Date





518 - 521


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Chordata, Nonvertebrate, DNA, Complementary, DNA-Binding Proteins, Early Growth Response Protein 2, Humans, Molecular Sequence Data, Rhombencephalon, Sequence Homology, Amino Acid, Transcription Factors