Notochordectomy and neuralectomy were carried out either in one- or in two-step experiments on the chick embryo. The aim of this operation was to study the influence of the axial organs (notochord and neural tube) on the development of the ganglia of the peripheral nervous system. The neural crest cells from which most peripheral ganglion cells arise were labeled through the quail-chick marker system and their fate was followed under various experimental conditions. It appeared that the development of the dorsal root and sympathetic ganglia depends on survival and differentiation of somite-derived structures. In the absence of neural tube and notochord, somitic cells die rapidly, and so do the neural crest cells that are present in the somitic mesenchyme at that time. In contrast, those crest cells which can reach the mesenchymal wall of the aorta, the suprarenal glands, or the gut survive and develop normally into nerve and paraganglion cells. Differentiation of the neural crest- and placode-derived sensory ganglia of the head which develop in the cephalic mesenchyme is not affected by removal of notochord and encephalic vesicles. These results show that the peripheral ganglia are differentially sensitive to the presence of the neural tube and the notochord. Among the various ganglia of the peripheral nervous system, spinal and sympathetic ganglia are the only ones which require the presence of these axial structures. The neural tube allows both the spinal and the sympathetic ganglia to develop in the absence of the notochord. In contrast, if the notochord is left in situ and the neural tube removed, the spinal ganglia fail to differentiate and only sympathetic ganglia can develop.