Neural tubes, with flanking somite streaks, were isolated from mouse embryos ranging in age from 8 to 11 days post coitus (dpc). The somites were further dissected along the neural tube to obtain one somite streak associated with the neural tube and the other free of nerve cells. The two groups of somites (with and without neural tubes) were dissociated to single cell suspension by a brief incubation with EDTA. High-density micro-mass cultures were established from these two groups of cells and the extent of cell differentiation was assayed by staining the cultures with an anti-myosin antibody. The results obtained indicated that during early somitogenesis (8.5 dpc) the presence of cells from neural tube is necessary for the emergence of myosin-positive cells in culture. At later stages (10.5 dpc), however, the total number of myosin-positive cells appearing in culture is largely independent from the presence of nerve cells. At these later stages, the presence of nerve cells inhibited the occurrence of fusion in myogenic cells. Many multinucleated myotubes appeared in cultures of somitic cells in the absence of nerve cells, but very few in their presence. The possible relationship of these data with the appearance of mononucleated differentiated cells in myotomes in vivo and the possible neural control of this stage of myogenesis are discussed.