In an embryonic chicken, transection of the thoracic spinal cord prior to embryonic day (E) 13 (of the 21-day developmental period) results in complete neuroanatomical repair and functional locomotor recovery. Conversely, repair rapidly diminishes following a transection on E13-E14 and is nonexistent after an E15 transection. The myelination of fiber tracts within the spinal cord also begins on E13, coincident with the transition from permissive to restrictive repair periods. The onset of myelination can be delayed (dysmyelination) until later in development by the direct injection into the thoracic cord on E9-E12 of a monoclonal antibody to galactocerebroside, plus homologous complement. In such a dysmyelinated embryo, a subsequent transection of the thoracic cord as late as E15 resulted in complete neuroanatomical repair and functional recovery (i.e., extended the permissive period for repair).