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Clin Exp Reprod Med. 2013 Sep;40(3):107-114. English. Review.
Lee SE , Lee SY , Lee KA .
Department of Biomedical Science, College of Life Science, CHA University, Seoul, Korea. leeka@ovary.co.kr
Abstract

Homeobox genes play essential roles in embryonic development and reproduction. Recently, a large cluster of homeobox genes, reproductive homeobox genes on the X chromosome (Rhox) genes, was discovered as three gene clusters, alpha, beta, and gamma in mice. It was found that Rhox genes were selectively expressed in reproduction-associated tissues, such as those of the testes, epididymis, ovaries, and placenta. Hence, it was proposed that Rhox genes are important for regulating various reproductive features, especially gametogenesis in male as well as in female mammals. It was first determined that 12 Rhox genes are clustered into alpha (Rhox1-4), beta (Rhox5-9), and gamma (Rhox10-12) subclusters, and recently Rhox13 has also been found. At present, 33 Rhox genes have been identified in the mouse genome, 11 in the rat, and three in the human. Rhox genes are also responsible for embryonic development, with considerable amounts of Rhox expression in trophoblasts, placenta tissue, embryonic stem cells, and primordial germ cells. In this article we summarized the current understanding of Rhox family genes involved in reproduction and embryonic development and elucidated a previously unreported cell-specific expression in ovarian cells.

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