To investigate whether the uniqueness of proximal and distal limb regenerates could be attributed simply to differing blastemal growth characteristics, their increase in volume, cell number and cell-cycle times were determined. With respect to these parameters proximal and distal blastemas were identical and, furthermore, no evidence could be found for the existence of separate growth zones such as an apical proliferation centre or a progress zone within the blastema. It was therefore concluded that level-specific properties of the blastemal cells play the major role in determining the structure of the regenerate, not their growth characteristics. The only discernible difference was in the cell number within the two types of blastema at the onset of cartilage redifferentiation— proximal regenerates had 60 % more cells. Thus it seems that the larger the pattern to be regenerated (the more proximal the amputation plane), the larger the primordium within which that pattern first appears. These two conclusions are discussed in relation to current theories of pattern formation during limb regeneration and development and a new way of envisaging the regeneration of pattern is described

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