The occurrence of tadpole-type larvae is one of the key events used to understand the origin and evolution of chordates, and the rail bud of chordate embryos is thought to be associated with formation of the tip of the tail. Although some transcriptional factor genes including Brachyury are expressed in the tail bud, no structural genes have been reported to be expressed there. We report here that an ascidian gene HrTT-1 is expressed exclusively in the tip of elongating tail of the tail-bud embryo. This gene encodes a possible secreted protein of 415 amino acids with the SCP/TPX family consensus sequences.
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