Early in development, neural progenitors in cerebral cortex normally produce neurons of several layers during successive cell divisions. The laminar fate of their daughters depends on environmental cues encountered just before mitosis. At the close of neurogenesis, however, cortical progenitors normally produce neurons destined only for the upper layers. To assess the developmental potential of these cells, upper-layer progenitors were transplanted into the cerebral cortex of younger hosts, in which deep-layer neurons were being generated. These studies reveal that late cortical progenitors are not competent to generate deep-layer neurons and are instead restricted to producing the upper layers.