Abstract: Changes in cis-regulatory DNA sequences and transcription factor (TF) repertoires provide major sources of phenotypic diversity that shape the evolution of gene regulation in eukaryotes. The DNA-binding specificities of TFs may be diversified or produce new variants in different eukaryotic species. However, it is currently unclear how various levels of divergence in TF DNA-binding specificities or motifs became introduced into the cis-regulatory DNA regions of the genome over evolutionary time. Here, we first estimated the evolutionary divergence levels of TF binding motifs and quantified their occurrence at DNase I-hypersensitive sites. Results from our in silico motif scan and experimentally derived chromatin immunoprecipitation (TF-ChIP) show that the divergent motifs tend to be introduced in the edges of cis-regulatory regions, which is probably accompanied by the expansion of the accessible core of promoter-associated regulatory elements during evolution. We also find that the genes neighboring the expanded cis-regulatory regions with the most divergent motifs are associated with functions like development and morphogenesis. Accordingly, we propose that the accumulation of divergent motifs in the edges of cis-regulatory regions provides a functional mechanism for the evolution of divergent regulatory circuits.