Comprehensive analysis of Hox gene expression in the amphipod crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis. Academic Article uri icon


  • Hox genes play crucial roles in establishing regional identity along the anterior-posterior axis in bilaterian animals, and have been implicated in generating morphological diversity throughout evolution. Here we report the identification, expression, and initial genomic characterization of the complete set of Hox genes from the amphipod crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis. Parhyale is an emerging model system that is amenable to experimental manipulations and evolutionary comparisons among the arthropods. Our analyses indicate that the Parhyale genome contains a single copy of each canonical Hox gene with the exception of fushi tarazu, and preliminary mapping suggests that at least some of these genes are clustered together in the genome. With few exceptions, Parhyale Hox genes exhibit both temporal and spatial colinearity, and expression boundaries correlate with morphological differences between segments and their associated appendages. This work represents the most comprehensive analysis of Hox gene expression in a crustacean to date, and provides a foundation for functional studies aimed at elucidating the role of Hox genes in arthropod development and evolution.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016