The aim of this study is to test the ability of the intrinsic wing musculature to develop in the absence of somitic mesoderm.
The experiments were performed on 2- to 2.5-day chick embryos either by replacing the somitic mesoderm adjacent to the wing field with a piece of 9-day chick embryonic midgut or by destroying, through local X-irradiation, not only the somitic mesoderm of the wing level, but also at least three somites (or presumptive somites) anterior and/or three presumptive somites posterior to the wing level.
The replacement of somitic tissue scarcely affected the organogenesis of the forearm musculature, at least when both bones were present. In the other experiments, radio-destruction severely impaired the development of the forearm muscles, which were seldom all present and in most cases were entirely missing. The absence of a given muscle involves the simultaneous absence of the corresponding tendons.
The possible origins of the muscles that formed despite the removal of the somitic mesoderm are discussed.