Formation, shaping, and bending of the neural plate and closure of the neural groove are complex processes resulting in formation of the neural tube. Two experiments were performed using avian embryos as model systems to examine these events. First, we transected blastoderms near the level of Hensen's node to determine the potential of prenodal neural plate to form neural tube in isolation from primitive streak regression. Our results demonstrate that shaping and bending of the prenodal neural plate occur under these conditions, but neural groove closure is inhibited. Second, we isolated various areas of postnodal epiblasts to determine their potential to form neural plate. Our results suggest that the area of the postnodal epiblast that can form neural plate consists of paired tracts lying adjacent to the definitive primitive streak and extending caudally at least 1 mm from its cranial end.