Researchers at New York University have created artificial Hox genes — which plan and direct where cells go to develop tissues or organs — using new synthetic DNA technology and genomic engineering in stem cells.
Their findings, published in Science, confirm how clusters of Hox genes help cells to learn and remember where they are in the body.
Hox genes as architects of the body
Nearly all animals — from humans to birds to fish — have an anterior-posterior axis, or a line that runs from head to tail. During development, Hox genes act as architects, determining the plan for where cells go along the axis, as well as what body parts they make up.