Interdigital Regulation of Digit Identity and Homeotic Transformation by Modulated BMP Signaling

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Science  21 Jul 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5478, pp. 438-441
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5478.438

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The developmental mechanisms specifying digital identity have attracted 30 years of intense interest, but still remain poorly understood. Here, through experiments on chick foot development, we show digital identity is not a fixed property of digital primordia. Rather, digital identity is specified by the interdigital mesoderm, demonstrating a patterning function for this tissue before its regression. More posterior interdigits specify more posterior digital identities, and each primordium will develop in accordance with the most posterior cues received. Furthermore, inhibition of interdigital bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling can transform digit identity, suggesting a role for BMPs in this process.

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