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The developing limb has been a very influential system for studying pattern formation in vertebrates. In the past, classical embryological models have explained how patterned structures are generated along the two principal axes of the limb: the proximodistal (shoulder to finger) and anteroposterior (thumb to little finger) axes. Over time, the genetic and molecular attributes of these patterning models have been discovered, while the role of growth in the patterning process has been only recently highlighted. In this review, we discuss these recent findings and propose how the various models of limb patterning can be reconciled.