The mechanism of transformation of the overtly similar cells of the neural plate into the numerous and diverse cell types of the mature vertebrate central nervous system (CNS) can better be understood by studying the clonal development of isolated CNS precursor cells. Here I describe a culture system in which blast cells (cells capable of division) isolated from embryonic day 13.5-14.5 rat forebrain can divide and differentiate into a variety of clonal types. Most clones contain only neurons or glia; 22% contain both neurons and non-neuronal cells. For the division of blast cells, live conditioning cells need to be present indicating that environmental signals influence proliferation. Heterogeneous clones develop in homogeneous culture conditions, so factors intrinsic to the blast cells are probably important in determining the number and type of clonal progeny.