Sculpting a fly leg: BMP boundaries and cell death

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Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) shape vertebrate limbs and define digits by inducing programmed cell death in interdigital tissues. Recent findings show that Drosophila legs are also sculpted by programmed cell death. In this case, rather than the absolute activity of BMP, it is the sharp discontinuity of BMP signalling that is required for forming the leg joint.

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Figure 1: Proximo-distal axis formation and segmentation in Drosophila legs.

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