Research Article

Specification of Jaw Subdivisions by Dlx Genes

Science  11 Oct 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5592, pp. 381-385
DOI: 10.1126/science.1075703

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Abstract

The success of vertebrates was due in part to the acquisition and modification of jaws. Jaws are principally derived from the branchial arches, embryonic structures that exhibit proximodistal polarity. To investigate the mechanisms that specify the identity of skeletal elements within the arches, we examined mice lacking expression ofDlx5 and Dlx6, linked homeobox genes expressed distally but not proximally within the arches.Dlx5/6–/– mutants exhibit a homeotic transformation of lower jaws to upper jaws. We suggest that nestedDlx expression in the arches patterns their proximodistal axes. Evolutionary acquisition and subsequent refinement of jaws may have been dependent on modification of Dlx expression.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: jlrr{at}cgl.ucsf.edu

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