Fibroblast growth factors induce additional limb development from the flank of chick embryos

Martin J. Cohn*, Juan Carlos Izpisúa-Belmonte, Helen Abud, John K. Heath, Cheryll Tickle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

518 Scopus citations


Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) act as signals in the developing limb and can maintain proliferation of limb bud mesenchyme cells. Remarkably, beads soaked in FGF-1, FGF-2, or FGF-4 and placed in the presumptive flank of chick embryos induce formation of ectopic limb buds, which can develop into complete limbs. The entire flank can produce additional limbs, but generally wings are formed anteriorly and legs posteriorly. FGF application activates Sonic hedgehog in cells with polarizing potential to make a discrete polarizing region. Hoxd-13 is also expressed in the ectopic bud, and an apical ectodermal ridge forms. A limb bud is thus established that can generate the appropriate signals to develop into a complete limb. The additional limbs have reversed polarity. This can be explained by the distribution of cells in the flank with potential polarizing activity. The results suggest that local production of an FGF may initiate limb development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-746
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 10 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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