The uptake of postulated neurotransmitters of their precursors into regions of the developing chick brain and retina has been examined. The transport of low concentrations (around 10(-8) M) of GABA, glutamic acid, choline, dopamine and serotonin into homogenates was sodium and energy dependent and inhibited by a variety of pharmacological agents that are thought to act presynaptically. After morphological fractionation, the high affinity transport mechanism was concentrated in the nerve ending fraction. Compounds were poorly accumulated by the cerebral regions of the 6 day incubated chick embryo. After this time, the uptake capacity of each brain region studied exhibited a characteristic development profile. Mechanisms for GABA transport appeared early in development, while catecholamine and choline systems matured later. Homogenates of the cerebral hemispheres and optic lobes took up all compounds studied, while the retina and cerebellum of the young chick were able to take up only GABA to a significant extent.