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A homeotic gene first described in Drosophila that controls the development of the third thoracic segment and the abdominal segments of the fruit fly.


A group of three adjacent homeotic bithorax genes forms the bithorax complex (BX-C) genes.

This was first described in Drosophila by Calvin Bridges in 1915. A mutant bithorax gene results in two pairs of wings in the thoracic segments of the fly.

Word origin: Latin bi- (a combining form meaning “twice”, “two”) + Latin thōrāx (breastplate, chest).

See also: homeosis.