Embryological evidence identifies wing digits in birds as digits 1, 2, and 3

Koji Tamura, Naoki Nomura, Ryohei Seki, Sayuri Yonei-Tamura, Hitoshi Yokoyama

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    56 Citations (Scopus)


    The identities of the digits of the avian forelimb are disputed. Whereas paleontological findings support the position that the digits correspond to digits one, two, and three, embryological evidence points to digit two, three, and four identities. By using transplantation and cell-labeling experiments, we found that the posteriormost digit in the wing does not correspond to digit four in the hindlimb; its progenitor segregates early from the zone of polarizing activity, placing it in the domain of digit three specification. We suggest that an avian-specific shift uncouples the digit anlagen from the molecular mechanisms that pattern them, resulting in the imposition of digit one, two, and three identities on the second, third, and fourth anlagens.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)753-757
    Number of pages5
    Issue number6018
    Publication statusPublished - 2011 Feb 11

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General


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