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Referee Comments: Referee 2

Posted by PLOS_ONE_Group on 09 Aug 2007 at 22:56 GMT

Reviewer 2's Review

The authors report detailed and well-controlled gene silencing studies of Hox or Hox-like genes in a cnidarian hydrozoan, Eleutheria dichotoma. While there continues to be considerable debate and disagreement about the evolution of these genes in cnidarians and the relationship of these cnidarian genes to bilaterian genes, to date no functional assays have been possible. Without such assays, there has been considerable speculation, but little data. Now in an exhaustive series of experiments, the authors provide such data. As the authors write (p. 2-3): "Unfortunately these [previous] studies have led to controversial results and functional studies are urgently needed to resolve controversies and learn about the function of Hox-like genes in early metazoan evolution." Thus this is a fascinating and important study with broad implications ranging from the methodological (functional assays in marine animals) to the evolutionary (origin of Hox gene function

N.B. These are the general comments made by the reviewer when reviewing this paper. Specific points addressed during revision of the paper are not shown.