Definition of homeobox in English:


(also homoeobox)


  • Any of a class of closely similar sequences which occur in various genes and are involved in regulating embryonic development in a wide range of species.

    as modifier ‘homeobox gene’
    • ‘A homeobox gene involved in setting up the mammalian body plan also appears to control grooming behavior in mice.’
    • ‘He and his group have discovered the homeobox, a DNA segment characteristic for homeotic genes which is not only present in arthropods and their ancestors, but also in vertebrates up to man.’
    • ‘Black vertical lines indicate the typical homeobox gene family and gray vertical lines the atypical homeobox gene family.’
    • ‘Comparisons of the roles of homeobox genes in metazoan development are playing a pivotal role in the current resynthesis of developmental and evolutionary biology.’
    • ‘Because of their fundamental importance in development, homeobox genes are of substantial interest to evolutionary biologists as they may provide key information on the evolution of development.’


1980s: from homeotic (see homeosis) + the noun box; first discovered in homeotic genes of Drosophila fruit flies.