The development of the vertebrate limb requires the coordinated action of multiple signals to achieve the proper arrangement of adult tissues. Recently, several molecules have been identified which play central roles in patterning of the limb bud. Sonic hedgehog, a homolog of the Drosophila segment polarity gene hedgehog, is likely to regulate anterior/posterior pattern formation. FGF-2 and FGF-4, members of the fibroblast growth factor family, have been shown to provide important signals for limb bud outgrowth and to indirectly regulate proximal/distal patterning. Some candidate effectors of the activity of Sonic hedgehog and of FGFs are known, including members of the clustered Hox genes.