This gene is a member of the paired box (PAX) family of transcription factors. Members of the PAX family typically;contain a paired box domain and a paired-type homeodomain. These genes play critical roles during fetal development.;This gene plays a role in pattern formation during embryogenesis and may be essential for development of the vertebral;column. This gene is silenced by methylation in ovarian and cervical cancers and may be a tumor suppressor gene.;Mutations in this gene are also associated with vertebral malformations.