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Our research focuses on mechanisms that pattern the craniofacial complex. We have created a chimeric transplantation system that exploits the distinct growth rates and anatomies of quail and duck. We exchange neural crest mesenchyme, which is a population of stem cells, between quail and duck embryos. This causes derivatives from the faster developing quail to interact with those from the relatively slower duck. Also, chimeras are challenged to integrate species-specific differences in size and shape. By looking for donor-induced changes to the spatiotemporal patterning of bone, cartilage, tendon, and muscle, we are able to identify molecular signals that underlie the structural and functional integration of the craniofacial complex during development and evolution.