The development and differentiation of the avian myotome was studied after removal of the neural tube, including neural crest, and after replacement of dorsal half-somites by ventral half-somites. Results show that in the absence of neural tissue myoblast differentiation within the somites does not take place. Ventral half-somites are able to undergo muscle differentiation if they were grafted in place of dorsal half somites. It is suggested that local signals must be responsible for the dorsalisation of the newly formed somite including myoblast differentiation. Neural crest cells are discussed as possible sources of these signals.