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J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1985 Jun;87:163-74.

Maps of strength of positional signalling activity in the developing chick wing bud.


Tissue from the posterior margin of the developing limb bud, when grafted to the anterior margin, evokes the formation of a mirror-image limb duplication from the host tissue. We present maps of the spatial and temporal distribution of this signalling activity in the chick wing bud based on a bioassay that provides a quantitative measure of the completeness of the additional structures (the strength of activity index). Activity is first detected prior to the initial appearance of the limb primordium as early as Hamburger & Hamilton stage 14. It reaches a maximum during early outgrowth of the bud at stages 19 to 25. It then declines as the limb starts to differentiate into its final morphological pattern. The design of the experiment provides serendipitous data showing that two operators can consistently perform grafts with high reproducibility between them while variability between embryos is somewhat higher. The maps of activity are of particular practical value in precisely defining for the experimental embryologist and molecular biologist those positions and stages at which peak signalling activity resides.

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