A cascade of signaling events triggers myogenesis in vertebrates. Although studies of zebrafish indicate that Fibroblast growth factor (Fgf), Hedgehog (Hh) and the T-box transcription factors, No tail (Ntl) and T-box gene 16 (Tbx16), regulate myogenesis, the hierarchy of these factors has not been determined. Recently, another transcriptional cofactor, Smarcd3, a subunit of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex, has been shown to be required for heart muscle formation in mouse. In zebrafish, fgf8 and ntl expression commences during blastula stages, whereas myogenesis, as indicated by myod expression, does not begin until much later during mid-gastrula stages. smarcd3b expression, on the other hand, becomes enriched in the marginal zone just prior to the beginning of myod expression. Over expression of smarcd3 shifts the onset of myod and myf5 expression earlier, and myod and myf5 expression in adaxial cells, the earliest muscle precursors, requires Smarcd3, indicating that Smarcd3 is the limiting factor that regulates the onset of myogenesis. Smarcd3 physically interacts with Ntl, and Smarcd3 over expression fails to rescue myod expression in ntl mutants, demonstrating that function of Smarcd3 depends on Ntl activity. We propose a model in which cooperative activity of Fgf, Ntl and Smarcd3 is required for the onset of myogenesis, with Smarcd3b serving as the primary regulator of the timing of myogenesis onset.