We have used the chicken retina as a model for investigating cell cycle regulation and cell fate commitment during central nervous system development. This thesis focuses on the characterization of and commitment to the horizontal cell fate in the retina. Horizontal cells are interneurons that provide intraretinal signal processing prior to information relay to the brain. We have identified molecular markers that selectively distinguish the three subtypes of horizontal cells, previously described in the chicken retina based on morphology. Subtype specific birth-dating revealed that horizontal cell subtypes are generated consecutively by biased progenitors that are sensitive to the inhibitory effects of follistatin. Follistatin stimulates proliferation in progenitors by repressing the differentiation signal of activin. Initially, injection of follistatin led to a decrease in committed horizontal cells but as the inhibitory effect dissipated it resulted in an increased number of horizontal cells. During development committed horizontal cell progenitors migrate to the vitreal side of the retina where they become arrested in G2-phase for approximately two days. When the arrest is overcome the horizontal cell progenitors undergo ectopic mitosis followed by migration to their designated layer. The G2-phase arrest is not triggered or maintained by any of the classic G2-arrest pathways such as DNA damage or stress. Nevertheless, we show that the cyclin B1-Cdk1 complex has a central role in maintaining this G2-phase arrest. Two transcription factors, FoxN4 and Ptf1a, are required for the generation of horizontal cells. We show that these factors are also sufficient to promote horizontal cell fate. Overexpression of FoxN4 and Ptf1a resulted in an overproduction of horizontal- and amacrine cells at the expense of ganglion- and photoreceptor cells. We identified Atoh7, a transcription factor required for the generation of ganglion cells, as a Ptf1a transcriptional target for downregulation. Our data support a common horizontal/amacrine lineage separated from the ganglion/photoreceptor lineage by the action of Ptf1a. In conclusion, these data describe several novel characteristics of horizontal cells enhancing our understanding of neural development and cell fate commitment.