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Dev Biol. 2003 Jan 15;253(2):264-78.

Spatial and temporal contribution of somitic myoblasts to avian hind limb muscles.

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Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Wales, CF10 3US, UK.


Skeletal muscles of the avian limb are derived from mononucleated myogenic precursor cells (myoblasts) that migrate into the somatopleural mesoderm of the developing limb bud from the ventrolateral dermomyotome of limb adjacent somites. In the present study, we utilized replication-deficient lacZ-encoding retroviruses to elucidate the source of myoblasts for all hind limb muscles in the chick and define the distinct patterns of myoblast distribution within the limb. We also examined, using the same marker, whether the time of migration from the somites into the limb dictates the spatial contribution the myoblasts make to the developing musculature, particularly in relation to the proximodistal and dorsovental axes. Finally, we used these investigations to examine whether the precursors of both primary and secondary myotubes are derived from somitic mesoderm, a presumption, which up until now, has not been demonstrated in vivo. Overall, the results of our studies demonstrate that individual somites have a selective spatial pattern of participation in the development of the avian hind limb musculature and contribute to both primary and secondary myotubes. We also show that both early and later migrating myoblasts can contribute fully to the formation of the appendicular muscles.

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