The onset of myotome formation in somites of chick embryos was studied by use of a polyclonal antidesmin antibody and by histochemical demonstration of acetylcholine esterase activity. The myotome cells originate from the dermatome only; sclerotome cells do not contribute to the myotome. The formation of the myotome starts in the craniomedial corner of the dermatome. From there the myotome formation continues simultaneously along the medial and the cranial edge of the dermatome. It was found that only the already longitudinally oriented cells of the cranial dermatome edge give rise to the myotome; the cells of the dorsomedial dermatome edge do not contribute to the myotome. Myotome cells do not originate directly from the surface of the overlying dermatome by delamination.