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Cellular contribution to supernumerary limbs in the axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum


Using the triploid cell marker, the cellular contribution from graft and stump to the supernumerary limbs which result from controlateral grafts of limb buds and regeneration blastemas in the axolotl has been analyzed. Grafts were made so as to appose anterior and posterior limb positions. Overall, the contribution from graft and stump tissue was found to be approximately equal although the position of the boundary between the two was variable from limb to limb. This result is consistent with models which suggest that intercalary regeneration is the driving force for patterning of the vertebrate limb. In addition, the pattern of cellular contribution to supernumerary limbs was consistently found to be asymmetrical in the dorsal-ventral axis. Hence, posterior limb tissue predominantly contributed cells to the posterior and dorsal part of the supernumerary limb whereas anterior limb tissue predominantly contributed cells to the anterior and ventral part of the supernumerary limb. The reason for this asymmetrical pattern remains unknown, but we suggest that it might result from a directional bias in intercalary regeneration, similar to that observed during intercalation in the proximal-distal axis of the urodele limb. Using the triploid cell marker in conjunction with a black/white pigmentation marker, the relationship between the cellular contribution boundary and the pigmentation boundary in supernumerary limbs has also been analyzed. It has been found that the positions of the two boundaries do not coincide, a result which suggests that the eventual location of pigment cells is not a good indicator of the location of nonpigment cells derived from graft and stump.

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