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Nature. 2003 May 15;423(6937):319-25.

Deciphering skeletal patterning: clues from the limb.

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Department of Anatomy and Program in Developmental Biology, School of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143-0452, USA.


Even young children can distinguish a Tyrannosaurus rex from a Brontosaurus by observing differences in bone size, shape, number and arrangement, that is, skeletal pattern. But despite our extensive knowledge about cartilage and bone formation per se, it is still largely a mystery how skeletal pattern is established. Much of what we do know has been learned from studying limb development in chicken and mouse embryos. Based on the data from such studies, models for how limb skeletal pattern is established have been proposed and continue to be hotly debated.

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