Mutations in the Hox6 paralogous group do not affect the development of the diaphragm in the common mouse (mus musculus)
Bandy, David B.
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Hox genes play a major role in the development of animal body plans. Mutations in Hox genes often lead to dramatic transformations in the morphology and function of animal body parts. This experiment sought to determine the cause of premature death of mice (mus musculus) mutant in the Hox6 paralogous group. Shortly after birth, mutant mice die. Due to the anterior to posterior expression of the Hox paralogous groups, based on Hox6's expression location, it was hypothesized that the diaphragm would either be not fully formed or not muscular enough to support life. If this were the case, mutant mice would not be able to inhale, leading to hypoxia and shortly later, death. Contrary to the hypothesis, diaphragm development did not appear to be affected by this particular mutation. Rather, in situ hybridization revealed expression of the Hox6 paralogous group in the lung tissue wild-type mice. Therefore, future studies should focus on the lungs as a possible cause for the rapid death of mutant mice. The results presented suggest that differences in the morphology of the lungs would be seen when comparing newborn wild-type and mutant mice. Such a study has greater human implications, as Hox genes are greatly conserved throughout the animal lineage. It may allow researchers to better understand the course and development of human genetic disorders.