When the anteroposterior axis of a cockroach leg is reversed at a graft by exchanging a left leg for a right leg at the mid-tibia level, regeneration occurs in the region of the graft/host junction. This results in the formation of a pair of lateral supernumerary legs. In these experiments the patterns of cell division which take place during supernumerary leg formation were observed in sections of regenerating legs of the cockroach Leucophaea maderae. Early patterns of cell division resemble those seen in control grafts in which no axial reversal had been carried out during grafting. These cell divisions are associated with the process of wound healing. Later, a large area of the epidermis proximal to the graft/host junction becomes activated and shows a rapid rate of cell division. This area forms two outgrowths which grow by cell division throughout their epidermis to form the epidermis of the supernumerary legs.

The results are more consistent with the view that the formation of supernumerary legs involves dedifferentiation of the epidermis in the region of the graft/host junction to form a blastema, rather than being due to local cell division at the point of maximum pattern discontinuity. This conclusion is used to offer an explanation for the range of different types of outcome of left-right grafts that has been observed.

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