Molecular and developmental studies of limb pattern formation have recently gained widespread attention. The fact that vertebrate limbs are amenable to both genetic and embryological manipulations has established this model system as a valuable paradigm for studying vertebrate development. Limb buds are polarised along all three major axes and the establishment of the dorso-ventral (DV) polarity is dependent upon cues localised in the trunk, where a DV ectodermal interface is produced by confrontation of dorsal and ventral identities. By analogy to Drosophila imaginal disc development, this interface has been proposed to determine and position an ectodermal organising centre, the Apical Ectodermal Ridge (AER), controlling limb bud outgrowth. Recent fate mapping studies and studies of genes regulating DV limb polarity, AER formation and differentiation suggest, however, that DV patterning and AER induction, though coordinately regulated during limb bud outgrowth, may early on be more dissociated than expected