Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Physical Laws shape up HOX Gene Collinearity

Version 1 : Received: 15 March 2021 / Approved: 17 March 2021 / Online: 17 March 2021 (16:44:42 CET)
Version 2 : Received: 19 March 2021 / Approved: 22 March 2021 / Online: 22 March 2021 (13:01:59 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Papageorgiou, S. Physical Laws Shape Up HOX Gene Collinearity. J. Dev. Biol. 2021, 9, 17. Papageorgiou, S. Physical Laws Shape Up HOX Gene Collinearity. J. Dev. Biol. 2021, 9, 17.


Hox gene collinearity (HGC) is a multiscalar property of many animal phyla particularly important in embryogenesis. It relates entities and events occurring in Hox clusters inside the chromosome DNA and in embryonic tissues. These two entities differ in linear size by more than four orders of magnitude. HGC is observed as spatial collinearity (SC) where the Hox genes are located in the order (Hox1, Hox2, Hox3 …) along the 3’ to 5’ direction of DNA in the genome and a corresponding sequence of ontogenetic units (E1, E2, E3, …) located along the Anterior – Posterior axis of the embyo. Expression of Hox1 occurs in E1. Hox2 in E2, Hox3 in E3… Besides SC, a temporal collinearity (TC) has been also observed in many vertebrates. According to TC first is Hox1 expressed in E1, later is Hox2 expressed in E2, followed by Hox3 in E3,… Lately doubt has been raised whether TC really exists. A biophysical model (BM) was formulated and tested during the last twenty years. According to BM, physical forces are created which pull the Hox genes one after the other driving them to a transcription factory domain where they are transcribed. The existing experiments support this BM description. Symmetry is a physical-mathematical property of Matter that was explored in depth by Noether who formulated a ground-breaking theory that applies to all sizes of Matter. This theory applied to Biology can explain the origin of HGC as applied not only to animals developing along the A/P axis but also to animals with circular symmetry.


Hox gene collinearity; spatial temporal collinearity; vertebrates; Noether theory


Biology and Life Sciences, Anatomy and Physiology

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