About this Research Topic
The spectacular transformations observed following alteration in Hox output, exemplified by the four-winged fly, have fascinated researchers for decades. The Hox genes have proven to be essential actors in determining structures along the antero-posterior axis in bilaterians, but discovering the developmental route - from DNA to morphology - is a complex task requiring elucidation of the genetic and cellular mechanisms operating in cells, tissues and organs. By concentrating on the development of specific structures, predominantly utilizing model organisms, researchers have started to unravel how Hox genes specify particular morphologies, either by determining differences between homologous structures or by analyzing the formation of new organs. In this way, how Hox genes impinge on particular cellular behaviors is starting to be uncovered.
Species-specific diversification in Hox output has been proposed to be a key mechanism contributing to the wide variation in morphology seen among bilateral animals. However, the historical difficulties in defining how Hox genes direct a particular developmental route within less tractable non-model organisms has hindered the precise understanding and comparison of Hox-driven processes across species. However, recent advances in RNA interference, CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing and advanced microscopy technologies are enabling analysis of the genetic and cellular basis of Hox gene activity in determining particular morphologies within an increasing number of species.
In this Research Topic we welcome primary data papers, perspectives and reviews, on how Hox genes regulate cellular processes and organ morphology. Articles may involve one or more of the following topics:
- The development of particular morphologies controlled by Hox genes.
- Regulation of cellular processes by Hox gene activity.
- Changes in Hox gene expression or activity that impact modifications in homologous organs.
- The generation of new structures by Hox genes.
- Hox gene activity and evolutionary changes in morphology
- Mechanisms of Hox-dependent transcriptional control that regulate cell fate.
Keywords: Hox genes, morphogenesis
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.