Wnt signalling regulates cell proliferation and cell fate determination during embryogenesis. However, little is known about the developmental role of one Wnt family member, Wnt-3, during avian development. To investigate the possible functions of Wnt-3, its expression pattern was determined using whole-mount in situ hybridization. Wnt-3 is expressed in important signalling centres, including the dorsal neural tube, Hensen's node and the AER (apical ectodermal ridge). Most interestingly, Wnt-3 is expressed in the dorsal neural tube as a gradient, with the strongest expression anterior in the trunk. Furthermore, this study showed that Wnt-3 and Wnt-3a play a different role in neural crest lineages derived from different axial level of neural tube. Wnt-3 might be involved in proliferation of neural crest lineages, whereas Wnt-3a plays an important role in melanogenesis in vagal. However, both Wnt-3 and Wnt-3a cause a significant increase in melanogenesis in the trunk neural crest lineage.