Gene of the Month - Pygopus

05 April 2016

Interview with

Kat Arney

And finally it's time for our gene of the month, and this time it's Pygopus. Named after the species of Australian legless lizards (not snakes - they're definitely lizards!), Pygopus was first discovered in fruit flies in 2002. Working together with genes known as Legless and Wingless, Pygopus has a range of roles in the developing fruit fly maggot, including setting up the basic body plan, guiding the development of the gut, heart and brain, along with the structures that go on to form parts of the adult fly, including the wings and - unsurprisingly given the gene's name - the legs. And it's not just flies. Versions of Pygopus have been found in other species, including humans. We have two versions of the gene, and Pygopus faults have been implicated in bowel cancers and other types of tumour too.

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