Fox Genes : Why You Matter!


Charles Darwin changed the course of Biological Sciences when he published On The Origin of Species in 1959. Consequently, a branch opened up. Today, Macroevolution is obsolete. Fox genes are the little link that defines us. Today, we take a look at what drives the Human Genome Project.

The Forkhead Box

Fox Genes typically belong to the forkhead gene family. Correspondingly, they drive a host of psychological and physiological factors. Fox genes are unified by the 100 residue forkhead domain of a DNA. Members of fox family tightly conserve their forkhead genes. For this reason, they are specific to the species which contaαin them. In 1989,  Scientists cloned Drosophila melanogaster with the forkhead phenotype. However, it puzzled scientists. The clone did not show resemblance to any previously known sequence. Shortly thereafter, Lai and colleagues cloned a mouse with cDNA containing hepatocyte cellular factor 3α. (Known as the FOXA1 gene). Identically, no similar code patterns were found. In 1990 however, Weigle and Jackle noticed a similarity of 110 central amino acids in the D. Melanogaster and mammalian genome. For this reason, they suggested forkhead domain for this unique DNA motif.

What Do the Fox Genes Say?

To put it in context, Fox genes control evolution. In the few decades hence, scientists have come up with numerous fox genes. For Scientists, understanding gene structures are the key to understanding gene evolution. Genomic sequences allows researchers to establish with full confidence the origin of a particular Gene from a gene pool.

Ancient linkages are a prominent feature of the fox genes. Therefore, Scientists can understand gene clusters by studying them.

Paralogous transcription factors with similar DNA recognition motifs tend to have a divergent expression. Consequently, a divergent form of evolution.

Although many experimental studies have shown the precise functions of a subset of Fox proteins in several species, a broader understanding of the evolution and functional diversification of the Fox family since the rise of eukaryotes approximately 1 billion years ago remains an important long-term goal.

Cluster Longevity

Work done in Trichoplax adhaerens and Nematostella vectensis, as well as humans, show evidence of tight linkages. Although whether the genes classifies as clusters are debatable. But, scientists are of the opinion that these genes shared a common origin and evolved independently before clustering happened.

The Human Touch

FoxO genes show distinct control over diabetes and ageing. Studies in Nematodes show insulin signalling pathways regulated by DAF-16, a Fox protein. It is an important mediator, by mediating the final transcription of proteins on insulin uptake. Repression of genes encoding the gluconeogenetic enzymes led to the discovery and identification of IRS sequences.

Researchers have been able to demonstrate in vitro that mammalian FoxA and FoxO can bind to this IRS and mediate transcriptional activities.

Additionally, scientists have demonstrated roles of FOXO1 and PAX3  fox genes in the developmental cancer research. FOXO1 and PAX3 or PAX7 are found in rhabdomyosarcomaFOXO3 or FOXO4 with the MLL (mixed lineage leukaemia) gene are found in acute lymphocytic leukaemia. Therefore, the FoxO proteins are major mediators of PI3K and Akt signalling pathways activation in cancer.



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