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Dissecting the regulatory switches of development: lessons from enhancer evolution in Drosophila.


Cis-regulatory modules are non-protein-coding regions of DNA essential for the control of gene expression. One class of regulatory modules is embryonic enhancers, which drive gene expression during development as a result of transcription factor protein binding at the enhancer sequences. Recent comparative studies have begun to investigate the evolution of the sequence architecture within enhancers. These analyses are illuminating the way that developmental biologists think about enhancers by revealing their molecular mechanism of function.