The myotome originates from the dermomyotome. Controversy surrounds the location of myotome precursor cells within the dermomyotome and their segregation from the dermomyotome. Here we addressed the problem of myotome formation by labeling dermomyotome cells using the quail-chick marking technique. We carried out five series of transplantation and replaced: (1) the medial third, (2) the intermediate third, (3) the lateral third, (4) the cranial half, (5) the caudal half of a thoracic dermomyotome. The grafting procedures were performed in HH-stages 15-17 of quail and chick embryos. The chimeras were reincubated for 2 days up to HH-stages 24-25. All of the grafted parts contributed to the myotome. The epaxial myotome is derived from the medial third of the dermomyotome, while the hypaxial myotome is formed by both the intermediate and lateral third of the dermomyotome. Ep- and hypaxial myotome domains meet in the thickest part of the myotome that is situated in the middle of its ventrolateral axis. Myotome growth in the epaxial domain begins earlier than in the hypaxial domain. Cranial and caudal edges of the dermomyotome contribute equally to both the epaxial and hypaxial myotomes. The first born myotome cells are located in the lateral part of the epaxial myotome and development then proceedes in medial and lateral directions.