Embryonic 4- to 15-day-old quail ciliary ganglia (CG) were grafted into the neural crest migration pathway of 2-day-old chick embryos at the adrenomedullary level of the neural axis. This back-transplantation results in dispersion of cells of the implanted ganglion, their migration in the host embryo, and subsequent promotion of their differentiation into a variety of neural-crest-derived cell types including adrenergic cells of the sympathetic ganglia and adrenal medulla. These cells can be recognized in the host through the nuclear marker that they carry. Here, we have analyzed quantitatively the expansion of CG-derived cell population after the graft, and compared cell division in CG after back-transplantation and during normal in situ development over the same period of time. Tritiated-thymidine [( 3H]TdR) incorporation showed that grafted CG cells proliferated during their migration and, to a greater extent, after they had homed to the host structures. Furthermore, proliferative activity of quail cells in the graft was found to be significantly higher than the growth rate of the CG cells in situ during the same period of development. In the quail donor embryo, the birthdate of the CG neurons occurred early in development; from 6 days onward, only nonneuronal cells were still dividing. When back-transplanted, the 4- to 5-day-old CG provided numerous quail cells located in autonomic structures of the host embryo. However, this increase of the total quail cell population and of cell division was reduced when CG were taken from quail donors at progressively later developmental stages. Postmitotic neurons from mature CG were found not to survive under the graft conditions. It is proposed that back-transplantation of the CG stimulates cell division and modifies the developmental programme of still undifferentiated precursor cells which then can give rise to a variety of cell types belonging either to the glial or the autonomic nerve and paraganglionic cell phenotypes, to the exclusion of sensory neurons which never derive from CG grafts.