Variations in regulatory regions of developmental control genes have been implicated in the divergence of axial morphologies. To find potentially significant changes in cis-regulatory regions, we compared nucleotide sequences and activities of mammalian Hoxc8 early enhancers. The nucleotide sequence of the early enhancer region is extremely conserved among mammalian clades, with five previously described cis-acting elements, A-E, being invariant. However, a 4-bp deletion within element C of the Hoxc8 early enhancer sequence is observed in baleen whales. When assayed in transgenic mouse embryos, a baleen whale enhancer (unlike other mammalian enhancers) directs expression of the reporter gene to more posterior regions of the neural tube but fails to direct expression to posterior mesoderm. We suggest that regulation of Hoxc8 in baleen whales differs from other mammalian species and may be associated with variation in axial morphology.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Dec 22 1998|
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