Cell fate in the chick limb bud and relationship to gene expression

N Vargesson, J D Clarke, K Vincent, C Coles, L Wolpert, C Tickle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Citations (Scopus)


We have produced detailed fate maps for mesenchyme and apical ridge of a stage 20 chick wing bud. The fate maps of the mesenchyme show that most of the wing arises from the posterior half of the bud. Subapical mesenchyme gives rise to digits. Cell populations beneath the ridge in the mid apical region fan out into the anterior tip of the handplate, while posterior cell populations extend right along the posterior margin. Subapical mesenchyme of the leg bud behaves similarly. The absence of anterior bending of posterior cell populations has implications when considering models of vertebrate limb evolution. The fatemaps of the apical ridge show that there is also a marked anterior expansion and cells that were in anterior apical ridge later become incorporated into non-ridge ectoderm along the margin of the bud. Mesenchyme and apical ridge do not expand in concert--the apical ridge extends more anteriorly. We used the fatemaps to investigate the relationship between cell lineage and elaboration of Hoxd-13 and Fgf-4 domains. Hoxd-13 and Fgf-4 are initially expressed posteriorly until about the mid-point of the early wing bud in mesenchyme and apical ridge respectively. Later in development, the genes come to be expressed throughout most of the handplate and apical ridge respectively. We found that at the proximal edge of the Hoxd-13 domain, cell populations stopped expressing the gene as development proceeded and found no evidence that the changes in extent of the domains were due to initiation of gene expression in anterior cells. Instead the changes in extent of expression fit with the fate maps and can be attributed to expansion and fanning out of cell populations initially expressing the genes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1909-1918
Number of pages10
Issue number10
Early online date1 May 1997
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 1997


  • Animals
  • Body Patterning
  • Carbocyanines
  • Chick Embryo
  • Ectoderm
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 4
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Limb Buds
  • Mesoderm
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Pyridinium Compounds
  • Transcription Factors
  • Wing


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