Hox gene evolution in nematodes: novelty conserved.
Aboobaker A., Blaxter M.
The conserved homeobox (Hox) gene cluster is neither conserved nor clustered in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Instead, C. elegans has a reduced and dispersed gene complement that is the result the loss of Hox genes in stages throughout its evolutionary history. The roles of Hox genes in patterning the nematode body axis are also divergent, although there are tantalising remnants of ancient regulatory systems. Hox patterning also differs greatly between C. elegans and a second 'model' nematode, Pristionchus pacificus. The pattern of Hox gene evolution may be indicative of the move to deterministic developmental modes in nematodes.