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The alar plate of the prosencephalon of the quail embryo was heterotopically transplanted into the alar plate of the mesencephalon of the chick embryo at the 7–10 somite stage. Chick and quail cells in chimeric brains were distinguished after Feulgen-Rossenbeck staining and/or immunohistochemical staining with a species specific monoclonal antibody MAb-37F5 which recognized cytoplasmic components of chick brain cells. Neural connections between the transplant and the host were studied by monoclonal antibodies, MAb39-B11, which recognizes a species specific antigen on chick nerve fibers, and MAb-29B8, which reacts to 160 kD neurofilaments of both chick and quail.

When the transplant was completely integrated into the host mesencephalon, the transplant developed a laminar morphology closely resembling that of the optic tectum. Immunohistochemical staining with MAb-39B11 showed that the host optic nerve fibers innervated both the host tectum and the tectum-like transplant. However, optic nerve fibers did not invade transplants that failed to develope a laminar structure characteristic of the tectum. These findings suggest that the prosencephalon has a capacity to differentiate into the optic tectum at the 7–10 somite stage.