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Mice in which all members of the Hox10 or Hox11 paralogous group are disrupted provide evidence that these Hox genes are involved in global patterning of the axial and appendicular skeleton. In the absence of Hox10 function, no lumbar vertebrae are formed. Instead, ribs project from all posterior vertebrae, extending caudally from the last thoracic vertebrae to beyond the sacral region. In the absence of Hox11 function, sacral vertebrae are not formed and instead these vertebrae assume a lumbar identity. The redundancy among these paralogous family members is so great that this global aspect of Hox patterning is not apparent in mice that are mutant for five of the six paralogous alleles.