The human HOX gene family.
We report the identification of 10 new human homeobox sequences. Altogether, we have isolated and sequenced 30 human homeoboxes clustered in 4 chromosomal regions called HOX loci. HOX1 includes 8 homeoboxes in 90 kb of DNA on chromosome 7. HOX2 includes 9 homeoboxes in 180 kb on chromosome 17. HOX3 contains at least 7 homeoboxes in 160 kb on chromosome 12. Finally, HOX4 includes 6 homeoboxes in 70 kb on chromosome 2. Homeodomains obtained from the conceptual translation of the isolated homeoboxes can be attributed to 13 homology groups on the basis of their primary peptide sequence. Moreover, it is possible to align the 4 HOX loci so that corresponding homeodomains in all loci share the maximal sequence identity. The complex of these observations supports and extends an evolutionary hypothesis concerning the origin of mammalian and fly homeobox gene complexes. We also determined the coding region present in 3 HOX2 cDNA clones corresponding to HOX2G, HOX2H and HOX2I.