Conservation of engrailed-like homeobox sequences during vertebrate evolution.
Holland PW., Williams NA.
The Drosophila melanogaster developmental gene engrailed (en) is a member of a distinct subfamily of homeobox genes with a wide phylogenetic distribution. Here we report the use of reduced stringency polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify and clone 8 genes related to en from 5 vertebrate species, including representatives of the most ancient vertebrate lineages. Nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequence comparisons between mouse, toad, zebrafish, lamprey and hagfish genes reveal extensive evolutionary conservation, and suggests that 2 en-like genes have been retained in most vertebrate lineages.