Homeobox genes encode positional information during primary and secondary axis formation during development. For this reason, the Hox genes have attracted attention in regeneration research as well. At early stages of regeneration, Hox genes have been implicated in wound healing and the dedifferentiation process and at later stages in the patterning of the blastema. We studied the expression of three Abdominal B-type Hox genes in Xenopus: XHoxc10, XHoxa13, and XHoxd13 during normal limb development and during regeneration of limbs and tails. We compared their expression with nonregenerating and with wounded limbs and tails, respectively. We show that the temporal and spatial control of these three Hox genes in blastemas differs from normal development. All three are specific to regeneration, XHoxc10 is up-regulated at the right time and at the site where cells dedifferentiate and undifferentiated cells are recruited, whereas XHoxa13 is reexpressed slightly later in regeneration, when the blastemal cells proliferate and remains on during patterning of the blastema. XHoxd13 is not expressed until relatively late and appears to be involved only in patterning of the blastema. (C) 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.