Developmental Biology

Chick Limb Regeneration

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Science  07 Dec 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6112, pp. 1264
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6112.1264-c

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CREDIT: B. ÖZPOLAT ET AL., DEV. BIOL., 372, 229 (2012)

Classic regeneration experiments with planaria and newts have demonstrated the amazing abilities of some animals to regrow amputated parts. Unfortunately, such phenomena are generally not possible in birds and mammals. The chicken limb does not normally regenerate; however, regeneration can occur after fibroblast growth factor is added or a limited part of the mesenchyme is removed. With this limited regenerative potential in mind, Özpolat et al. examined the elbow joint. The joint was identified by histological and cell-fate mapping, and a section of tissue containing the joint was excised. When the two ends were placed together, the bones fused without generation of a joint. However, if a “window” of space was maintained after excision, the elbow joint regenerated. Regeneration followed the same molecular program as that taken during normal embryonic development. Furthermore, cell labeling experiments revealed that posterior cells migrated to the site of injury. Chick limb regeneration thus resembles that of amphibian limbs, where cells migrate to a wounded area and reinitiate the normal developmental program.

Dev. Biol. 372, 229 (2012).

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