Amphibian limb regeneration is a process in which it has been suggested that cells of one differentiated type may dedifferentiate and give rise to cells of another type in the regenerate. We have used two tissue-specific hypomethylations in the newt cardioskeletal myosin heavy chain gene as lineage markers to follow the fate of cells during limb regeneration. Analysis of genomic DNA from different muscle cell populations allowed the assignment of one marker to the muscle (Hypo A) lineage and the other, more tentatively, to the ‘connective tissue’ (Hypo B) component of muscle. The contribution to regenerated limb cartilage and limb blastemal tissue by cells carrying these markers was estimated by quantitative analysis of Southern blot hybridizations using DNA from regenerate tissues. The results are consistent with a contribution of cells from both muscle and connective tissue lineages to cartilage in regenerated limbs. In addition, removal of the humerus at the time of amputation (eliminating any contribution from pre-existing cartilage), has provided evidence for an increased representation of cells carrying the connective tissue marker in regenerate cartilage but did not affect the representation of cells carrying the muscle cell marker.

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