Sympathetic preganglionic projections of the chick are segmentally specific. Neurons from the 16th cervical (C16) and the first thoracic (T1) spinal cord segments project almost exclusively in the rostral direction, while those from the fifth thoracic (T5) to the first lumbar (L1) spinal segments project almost exclusively in the caudal direction. Neurons from the intervening spinal cord segments (T2-4) project in rostral and caudal directions. There is also a tendency for rostrally located neurons in each segment to project rostrally and caudally located neurons to project caudally. To investigate whether specific projections of preganglionic neurons are intrinsically determined by segmental origins of their cell bodies, neural tube segments were transplanted or rotated in embryos at stages 19-26; these stages include times during and after preganglionic cell birth and just prior to axon outgrowth. When the T1 neural tube segment was replaced with the T5 or T7 neural tube segment the transplanted T5 or T7 preganglionic neurons, now in the T1 position, projected rostrally. Conversely, when the T5 or T7 neural tube segment was replaced with the T1 neural tube, the transplanted T1 preganglionic neurons projected caudally. In addition, when individual T3 spinal cord segments were rotated 180 degrees along the A-P axis, neurons which were originally in the caudal part of the segment projected rostrally, whereas neurons originally from the rostral part of the segment projected caudally. These results show that specific projections of preganglionic neurons are not intrinsically determined by segmental origins of their cell bodies.