Studying the relationship between mechanical forces and skeletal development can provide vital clues to the mechanoregulation of skeletogenesis, providing important information to tissue engineers hoping to create functional cartilage or bone in vitro. Many studies of the mechanoregulation of skeletal development have focused on the chick embryo e.g., [1, 2]. However, as no endochondral ossification takes place in the embryonic chick long bones [1], mammalian systems must be used to examine the effect of mechanical forces on endochondral bone formation. Mouse mutant strains exist in which muscle development is affected, providing models with which to examine skeletogenesis in the absence of skeletal muscle contractions. One such strain is Pax3sp/sp [3], also known as splotch. The splotch mutant lacks the transcription factor Pax3, which prevents the migration of muscle pre-cursor cells into the limb buds, resulting in a complete absence of skeletal muscle.

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