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Abstract

The regenerative capability of Xenopus laevis hindlimbs was studied at different developmental stages. Three types of surgical deletion of the autopod were performed: simple amputations, 3-digit wedge-shaped deletions and 1-digit wedge-shaped deletions. The frequency of regenerative response and the digital patterns of the regenerates were analyzed. Regenerative capacity declines with developmental stage for all three types of deletions. For simple amputations this decline occurs in an orderly manner with the failure of anterior digits to regenerate at progressively later stages. A comparison between 1-digit and 3-digit deletions shows that for all stages of development, 3-digit deletions regenerate better than one-digit deletions. These data indicate that the amount of tissue removed is directly related to whether a regenerative response is observed. At any given stage, larger deletions are more likely to regenerate than smaller ones. These results are discussed with regard to the mechanisms by which growth during regeneration is controlled.