The regulation of gene expression is accomplished by both genetic and epigenetic means and is required for the precise control of the development of the neural crest. In hdac1b382 mutants, craniofacial cartilage development is defective in two distinct ways. First, fewer hoxb3a, dlx2 and dlx3-expressing posterior branchial arch precursors are specified and many of those that are consequently undergo apoptosis. Second, in contrast, normal numbers of progenitors are present in the anterior mandibular and hyoid arches, but chondrocyte precursors fail to terminally differentiate. In the peripheral nervous system, there is a disruption of enteric, DRG and sympathetic neuron differentiation in hdac1b382 mutants compared to wildtype embryos. Specifically, enteric and DRG-precursors differentiate into neurons in the anterior gut and trunk respectively, while enteric and DRG neurons are rarely present in the posterior gut and tail. Sympathetic neuron precursors are specified in hdac1b382 mutants and they undergo generic neuronal differentiation but fail to undergo noradrenergic differentiation. Using the HDAC inhibitor TSA, we isolated enzyme activity and temporal requirements for HDAC function that reproduce hdac1b382 defects in craniofacial and sympathetic neuron development. Our study reveals distinct functional and temporal requirements for zebrafish hdac1 during neural crest-derived craniofacial and peripheral neuron development.