• limb development;
  • limb bud prepattern;
  • Sonic hedgehog (SHH), LMBR1;
  • oligozeugodactyly (ozd);
  • zone of polarizing activity (ZPA);
  • cis-enhancer;
  • reporter analysis;
  • ZPA regulatory sequence (ZRS);
  • mammals-fishes-conserved-sequence-1 (MFCS-1);
  • Acheiropodia (ACHP);
  • preaxial polydactyly (PPD);
  • Dorking Breed chicken;
  • Silkie Breed chicken


The evolutionarily conserved, non-coding ∼800-base-pair (bp) zone of polarizing activity (ZPA) regulatory sequence (ZRS) controls Shh expression in the posterior limb. We report that the chicken mutant oligozeugodactyly (ozd), which lacks limb Shh expression, has a large deletion within the ZRS. Furthermore, the preaxial polydactylous, Silkie Breed chicken, which develops ectopic anterior limb Shh expression, has a single bp change within the ZRS. Using an in vivo reporter assay to examine enhancer function in the chick limb, we demonstrate that the wild-type ZRS drives β-galactosidase reporter expression in the ZPA of both wild-type and ozd limbs. The Silkie ZRS drives β-galactosidase in both posterior and anterior Shh domains in wild-type limb buds. These results support the hypothesis that the ZRS integrates positive and negative prepatterned regulatory inputs in the chicken model system and demonstrate the utility of the chicken limb as an efficient genetic system for gene regulatory studies. Developmental Dynamics 240:1212–1222, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.