A study of the molecules noggin and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and its receptor in the induction of the prospective neural crest in Xenopus laevis embryos has been carried out, using the expression of the gene Xslu as a marker for the neural crest. We show that when a truncated FGF receptor (XFD) was expressed ectopically in order to block FGF signaling Xslu expression was inhibited. The effect of XFD on Xslu was specific and could be reversed by the coinjection of the wild-type FGF receptor (FGFR). Inhibition of Xslu expression by XFD is not a consequence of neural plate inhibition, as was shown by analyzing Xsox-2 expression. When ectoderm expressing XFD was transplanted into the prospective neural fold region of embryos Xslu induction was inhibited. The neural crest can also be induced by an interaction between neural plate and epidermis. As this induction is suppressed by the presence of XFD in the neural plate and not in the epidermis, it suggests that the neural crest is induced by FGF from the epidermis. However, treatment of neural plate with FGF was not able to induce Xslug expression, showing that in addition to FGF other non-FGF factors are also required. Previously we have suggested that the ectopic ventral expression of Xslu produced by overexpression of noggin mRNA resulted from an interaction of noggin with a ventral signal. Overexpression of XFD inhibits this effect, suggesting that FGF could be one component involved in this ventral signaling. Overexpression of FGFR produced a remarkable increase in the expression of Xslu in the posterior neural folds and around the blastopore. Injections in different blastomeres of the embryo suggest that the target cells of this effect are the ventral cells. Finally, we proposed a model in which the induction of the neural crests at the border of the neural plate requires functional FGF signaling, which possibly interacts with a neural inducer such as noggin.