RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Aberrant FGF signaling, independent of ectopic hedgehog signaling, initiates preaxial polydactyly in Dorking chickens.

Developmental Biology 2009 October 2
The formation of supernumerary digits, or polydactyly, is a common congenital malformation. Although mutations in a number of genes have been linked to polydactyly, the molecular etiology for a third of human disorders with polydactyly remains unknown. To increase our understanding of the potential causes for polydactyly, we characterized a spontaneous chicken mutant, known as Dorking. The hindlimbs of Dorkings form a preaxial supernumerary digit. During the early stages of limb development, ectopic expression of several genes, including Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) and Fibroblast Growth Factor 4 (Fgf4), was found in Dorking hindlimbs. In addition to ectopic gene expression, a decrease in cell death in the anterior of the developing Dorking hindlimb was observed. Further molecular investigation revealed that ectopic Fgf4 expression was initiated and maintained independent of ectopic Shh. Additionally, inhibition of Fgf signaling but not hedgehog signaling was capable of restoring the normal anterior domain of cell death in Dorking hindlimbs. Our data indicates that in Dorking chickens, preaxial polydactyly is initiated independent of Shh.

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