Quail-to-chick grafting experiments performed during the third day of incubation demonstrate that somites can contribute to limb development. In orthotopic recombinations, migrating cells originating from the grafted unsegmented or segmented somitic mesoderm adjacent to the wing or leg field end up in the musculature respectively of the wing or the leg, where they express exclusively myogenic properties. Thus, in these heterospecific recombinations, the anatomical muscle has a double origin: muscle bulk of somitic origin; tendons and connective tissues of somatopleural origin. Similar features are observed in heterotopic recombinations with (segmented or unsegmented) somitic mesoderm located cranially or caudally to the limb levels.
In the reverse chick-to-quail grafting experiments, the somitic participation to the limb mesoderm can also be observed. But it is less regular than that obtained in the quail-to-chick recombinations, and the muscle bulk is made up in various proportions of graft-originated somitic cells and of host somatopleural cells.
The possible existence of juxtaposed and interdigitated myogenic and tendinogenic compartments is discussed in view of the dissimilarity between the results of the two kinds of heterospecific recombinations.