The role of Alx-4 in the establishment of anteroposterior polarity during vertebrate limb development.
In a study of the polydactylous mutation of the domestic chicken, diplopodia4, we have found that the genetic lesion affects primarily the mesoderm and only secondarily the ectoderm. The effect of this mutant mesenchyme on overlying ectodermal ridge, either mutant or normal, is to thicken the ridge preaxially, leading to increased outgrowth and preaxial polydactylism. A "zone of polarizing activity" in the normal limb-bud seems to have a role in the control of its anteroposterior polarity. We have examined diplopodia4 limb-buds for polarizing activity and found it to be normal in its activity and distribution. These results suggest that the supernumerary outgrowth in the mutant limbs result from increased ridge mainon of the polarizing zone.