Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The amphioxus (Branchiostoma floridae) Hox cluster is a model for the ancestral vertebrate cluster, prior to the hypothesized genome-wide duplications that may have facilitated the evolution of the vertebrate body plan. Here we describe the posterior (5') genes of the amphioxus cluster, and report the isolation of four new homeobox genes. Vertebrates possess 13 types of Hox gene (paralogy groups), but we show that amphioxus possesses more than 13 Hox genes. Amphioxus is now the first animal in which a Hox14 gene has been found. Our mapping and phylogenetic analysis of amphioxus "Posterior Class" Hox genes reveals that these genes are evolving at a faster rate in deuterostomes than in protostomes, a phenomenon we term Posterior Flexibility.


Journal article


Evol Dev

Publication Date





284 - 293


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Base Sequence, Chordata, Nonvertebrate, DNA Primers, Genes, Homeobox, Molecular Sequence Data, Multigene Family, Phylogeny, Sequence Homology, Amino Acid