The enzymes that generate retinoic acid during development have been identified as members of the aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) family. The developmental expression patterns of two ALDHs that function as retinaldehyde dehydrogenases, RALDH1 and RALDH2, have been described. Here we report the cloning and expression of a third retinaldehyde dehydrogenase from the mouse called RALDH3 that shares 94% amino acid sequence identity to a human retinaldehyde dehydrogenase previously named ALDH6. In mouse embryos, RALDH3 expression is first noticed in the ventral optic eminence at E8.75, then in the optic vesicle/cup, otic vesicle, and olfactory placode/pit from E9.5 to E11.5. Expression in the developing eye is primarily localized in the ventral retina, thus indicating that RALDH3 represents the V1 dehydrogenase activity described there earlier. From E8.5 to E10.5 RALDH3 expression is distinct from that of RALDH1 or RALDH2, thus indicating a unique role in sensory organ development.