Grafting experiments previously have established that the notochord affects dorsoventral polarity of the neural tube by inducing the formation of ventral structures such as motor neurons and the floor plate. Here, we examine if the notochord inhibits formation of dorsal structures by grafting a notochord within or adjacent to the dorsal neural tube prior to or shortly after tube closure. In all cases, neural crest cells emigrated from the neural tube adjacent to the ectopic notochord. When analyzed at stages after ganglion formation, the dorsal root ganglia appeared reduced in size and shifted in position in embryos receiving grafts. Another dorsal cell type, commissural neurons, identified by CRABP and neurofilament immunoreactivity, differentiated in the vicinity of the ectopic notochord. Numerous neuronal cell bodies and axonal processes were observed within the induced, but not endogenous, floor plate 1 to 2 days after implantation but appeared to be cleared with time. These results suggest that dorsally implanted notochords cannot prevent the formation of neural crest cells or commissural neurons, but can alter the size and position of neural crest-derived dorsal root ganglia.