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Cellular adhesion is fundamental to the behaviour of cell populations during embryonic development and serves to establish correct tissue pattern and architecture. The cadherin superfamily of cell adhesion proteins regulates cellular organization and additionally influences intracellular signalling cascades. Here we present for the first time a detailed account of chick Fat-1 gene expression during embryogenesis visualised by whole-mount in situ hybridisation. In part, we focus on the expression pattern in limb buds that has not been accurately documented. While Fat-1 is generally expressed in epithelial tissues and its Drosophila counterpart Fat-like regulates formation of ectodermally-derived organs, in limb buds we have found that chick Fat-1 is uniquely restricted to mesenchyme. This Fat-1 expression pattern is remarkably dynamic throughout tissue differentiation, limb maturation and pattern formation. Diffuse expression of Fat-1 begins at stage HH17 as the limb bud is forming. It then becomes more proximal as the limb bud grows and is expressed within both tendon and muscle progenitors in the dorsal and ventral subectodermal mesenchyme. Later, Fat-1 transcripts were more abundant in anterior and posterior domains of the limb bud. During hand plate formation, Fat-1 transcripts were expressed in the mesenchyme adjacent to the wrist joint zone and in the interdigit mesenchyme.