News of the WeekDevelopmental Biology

New Findings Reveal How Legs Take Wing

Science  12 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5408, pp. 1615-1616
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5408.1615a

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Work from at least four labs is pointing to a set of proteins that appear to play a leading role in separating forelimbs from hindlimbs. The first clues came last year, when a number of teams reported that in several vertebrates, at least three genes are expressed only in either forelimbs or hindlimbs. Several groups then began to examine their effects in embryos, and results are now rolling in, including a report which appears on page 1736 of this issue. In it, researchers expressed a hindlimb gene in the forelimb of a chick embryo and saw remarkable changes in which the infected wings developed more like legs.