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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Barx1 and evolutionary changes in feeding.

During mouse embryonic development, the Barx1 homeobox gene is expressed in the mesenchymal cells of molar teeth and stomach. During early stages of molar development, Barx1 has an instructive role, directing the as yet undetermined ectomesenchymal cells in the proximal region of the jaws to follow a multicuspid tooth developmental pathway. We review here recent results showing an absence of stomach tissue in Barx1 mutant mice. The data strongly suggest that in the presumptive stomach mesenchyme Barx1 acts to attenuate Wnt signalling allowing digestive tract endoderm to differentiate into a highly specialized stomach epithelium. In the light of these new data, we discuss the possibility that evolutionary changes in the Barx1 gene could have simultaneously altered the dentition and the digestive system, therefore positioning Barx1 as a key gene in the evolution of mammals.[1]


  1. Barx1 and evolutionary changes in feeding. Miletich, I., Buchner, G., Sharpe, P.T. J. Anat. (2005) [Pubmed]
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