The ectodermal control of mesodermal patterns of differentiation in the developing chick wing

Dev Biol. 1987 Dec;124(2):398-408. doi: 10.1016/0012-1606(87)90492-1.


The influence of limb ectoderm on the dorso-ventral muscle and skeletal patterns in the chick wing was studied by recombining stage 14-21 limb mesoderm with the same stage ectoderm in dorso-ventrally reversed orientation. Recombinants grafted to the flank of host embryos were allowed to develop for 10 days. Fully developed wings obtained from stage 15-21 donor embryos have at their distal half d-v polarity conforming to the reversed ectoderm and proximally polarity conforming with the mesoderm. The ectodermal effect is generally observed as a bidorsal feather pattern at the autopod and an almost complete d-v reversal of muscle and skeletal patterns. In experimental wings from donor embryos younger than stage 15, the dorso-ventral pattern conforms with the polarity of the limb mesoderm. The results suggest that control of dorso-ventral polarity resides in the mesoderm until the onset of limb development at stage 15. At this stage, the ectoderm acquires dorso-ventral information which it can impose on the mesoderm.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chick Embryo
  • Ectoderm / physiology
  • Feathers / embryology
  • Mesoderm / physiology
  • Morphogenesis
  • Muscles / embryology
  • Wings, Animal / embryology*