Cells containing gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) are essential not only for reproduction but also for neuromodulatory functions in the adult animal. A variety of studies have hinted at multiple origins for GnRH-containing cells in the developing embryo. We have shown, using zebrafish as a model system, that GnRH cells originate from precursors lying outside the olfactory placode: the region of the anterior pituitary gives rise to hypothalamic GnRH cells and the cranial neural crest gives rise to the GnRH cells of the terminal nerve and midbrain. Cells of both the forming anterior pituitary and cranial neural crest are closely apposed to the precursors of the olfactory epithelium during early development. Disruption of kallmann gene function results in loss of the hypothalamic but not the terminal nerve GnRH cells during early development. The GnRH proteins are expressed early in development and this expression is mirrored by the onset of GnRH receptor (GnRH-R) expression during early development. Thus the signaling of the GnRH neuronal circuitry is set up early in development laying the foundation for the GnRH network that is activated at puberty leading to reproductive function in the mature animal.