Neural progenitors of the mouse forebrain can be propagated in vitro as neurospheres in the presence of bFGF and EGF. However, less is understood whether regional characteristics or developmental stage properties of these cells are maintained in neurosphere cultures. Here we show that the original cell fate is lost in neurosphere cultures. We isolated neural progenitors from the dorsal telencephalon of D6-GFP mice and cultured them in vitro. The expression profile was specifically changed in cultured cells in just three passages. Markers of the dorsal forebrain were downregulated and several ventrally-expressed genes were induced. The altered gene expression led to a profound phenotypic change of cultured cells. D6-GFP positive cortical progenitors produce excitatory neurons in the cortex and few astrocytes in vivo but after culture in vitro, these cells differentiate into many astrocytes and also oligodendrocytes and inhibitory neurons. Wnt signaling in cultured neurospheres was downregulated in the same manner as other dorsal markers but dominant active Wnt signaling slowed down the loss of the dorsal identity in neurospheres.