Here we report a human-derived material with potent inductive activity that selectively converts ES cells into neural tissues. Both mouse and human ES cells efficiently differentiate into neural precursors when cultured on the matrix components of the human amniotic membrane in serum-free medium [amniotic membrane matrix-based ES cell differentiation (AMED)]. AMED-induced neural tissues have regional characteristics (brainstem) similar to those induced by coculture with mouse PA6 stromal cells [a common method called stromal cell-derived inducing activity (SDIA) culture]. Like the SDIA culture, the AMED system is applicable to the in vitro generation of various CNS tissues, including dopaminergic neurons, motor neurons, and retinal pigment epithelium. In contrast to the SDIA method, which uses animal cells, the AMED culture uses a noncellular inductive material derived from an easily available human tissue; therefore, AMED should provide a more suitable and versatile system for generating a variety of neural tissues for clinical applications.