Kluver, N., Kondo, M., Herpin, A., Mitani, H., and Schartl, M. (2005) Divergent expression patterns of Sox9 duplicates in teleosts indicate a lineage specific subfunctionalization. Development genes and evolution. 215(6):297-305.
Sry-related HMG-box genes are key regulators of several developmental processes. Sox9 encodes a transcription factor required for cartilage formation and testis determination in mammals. In zebrafish (Danio rerio) and stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) two co-orthologs of Sox9 are present. To date, only one Sox9 had been identified in medaka (Oryzias latipes). We have now isolated the second Sox9 gene. Sequence analysis, phylogenetic data, linkage mapping as well as expression pattern all together suggest that the medaka Sox9a and Sox9b are co-orthologs. During embryogenesis, the expression pattern of Sox9a and Sox9b are distinct but overlap considerably in craniofacial cartilage elements. Comparing the zebrafish Sox9a and Sox9b expression patterns with medaka Sox9a and Sox9b expression domains revealed that some are identical but others are clearly different. We conclude that Sox9 regulatory subfunctions were not partitioned before divergence of the teleosts and evolved to lineage-specific expression domains.