22 Aug 2013
Cyclostomes, comprising jawless vertebrates such as lampreys and hagfishes, are the sister group of living jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes) and hence an important group for understanding the origin and diversity of vertebrates. In vertebrates and other metazoans, Hox genes determine cell fate along the anteroposterior axis of embryos and are implicated in driving morphological diversity. Invertebrates contain a single Hox cluster (either intact or fragmented), whereas elephant shark, coelacanth, and tetrapods contain four Hox clusters owing to two rounds of wholegenome duplication (“1R” and “2R”) during early vertebrate evolution . . .