Creation of pathways for melt to migrate from its source is the necessary first step for transport of magma to the upper crust. To test the role of different dehydration-melting reactions in the development of permeability during partial melting and deformation in the crust, we experimentally deformed two common crustal rock types. A muscovite-biotite metapelite and a biotite gneiss were deformed at conditions below, at and above their fluid-absent solidus. For the metapelite, temperatures ranged between 650 and 800 °C at Pc=700 MPa to investigate the muscovite-dehydration melting reaction. For the biotite gneiss, temperatures ranged between 850 and 950 °C at Pc=1000 MPa to explore biotite dehydration-melting under lower crustal conditions. Deformation for both sets of experiments was performed at the same strain rate (ε.) 1.37×10−5 s−1. In the presence of deformation, the positive ΔV and associated high dilational strain of the muscovite dehydration-melting reaction produces an increase in melt pore pressure with partial melting of the metapelite. In contrast, the biotite dehydration-melting reaction is not associated with a large dilational strain and during deformation and partial melting of the biotite gneiss melt pore pressure builds more gradually. Due to the different rates in pore pressure increase, melt-enhanced deformation microstructures reflect the different dehydration melting reactions themselves. Permeability development in the two rocks differs because grain boundaries control melt distribution to a greater extent in the gneiss. Muscovite-dehydration melting may develop melt pathways at low melt fractions due to a larger volume of melt, in comparison with biotite-dehydration melting, generated at the solidus. This may be a viable physical mechanism in which rapid melt segregation from a metapelitic source rock can occur. Alternatively, the results from the gneiss experiments suggest continual draining of biotite-derived magma from the lower crust with melt migration paths controlled by structural anisotropies in the protolith.