The sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus is among the most primitive of extant vertebrates. We are interested in the organization of its Hox gene clusters, because, as a close relative of the gnathostomes, this information would help to infer Hox cluster organization at the base of the gnathostome radiation. We have partially mapped the P. marinus Hox clusters using phage, cosmid, and P1 artificial chromosome libraries. Complete homeobox sequences were obtained for the 22 Hox genes recovered in the genomic library screens and analyzed for cognate group identity. We estimate that the clusters are somewhat larger than those of mammals (roughly 140 kbp vs. 105 kbp) but much smaller than the single Hox cluster of the cephalochordate amphioxus (at more than 260 kb). We never obtained more than three genes from any single cognate group from the genomic library screens, although it is unlikely that our screen was exhaustive, and therefore conclude that P. marinus has a total of either three or four Hox clusters. We also identify four highly conserved non-coding sequence motifs shared with higher vertebrates in a genomic comparison of Hox 10 genes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology