Global analyses of gene expression during development reveal specific transcription patterns associated with the emergence of various cell types, tissues, and organs. These heterogeneous patterns are instrumental to ensure the proper formation of the different parts of our body, as shown by the phenotypic effects generated by functional genetic approaches. However, variations at the cellular level can be observed within each structure or organ. In the developing mammalian limbs, expression of Hox genes from the HoxD cluster is differentially controlled in space and time, in cells that will pattern the digits and the forearms. While the Hoxd genes broadly share a common regulatory landscape and large-scale analyses have suggested a homogenous Hox gene transcriptional program, it has not previously been clear whether Hoxd genes are expressed together at the same levels in the same cells.
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