Several genes involved in the regulation of eye development in different species have been identified. Structural and functional conservation have been found between some of these genes in organisms as diverse as Drosophila and mouse. One notable example is the relationship between the mouse Pax6 gene and eyeless of Drosophila. Ectopic expression of eyeless or mouse Pax6 in Drosophila results in the formation of additional eyes. Recently, another homeobox gene, Six3, was found to promote ectopic lens formation in fish embryos. The next step will be to unravel the associated regulatory pathways of these genes and assess the degree to which they display evolutionary conservation. This will be important in order to assimilate these findings with current anatomical and embryological models. It seems reasonable to believe that in the near future the characterization of the whole framework required for vertebrate eye development will be accomplished.
ASJC Scopus subject areas