The neural retina is a complex sensory structure designed to receive, integrate, and transmit visual information. An important aspect of retinal development is the establishment of pattern along the dorsal-ventral (D-V) and anterior-posterior (A-P) axes. The recent identification and functional characterization of a dorsal-specific and a ventral-specific transcription factor suggested that the D-V axis is divided into two domains. This study characterizes the expression patterns of these and other D-V markers, and establishes that the retina is subdivided into at least four domains of gene expression along this axis. The composition and spatial relation of these expression domains alters our model of D-V patterning, suggesting more complexity in the way that the retina is patterned than was previously recognized. As domains of gene expression within developing tissues sometimes comprise compartments whose borders are not crossed by clonally related cells, we performed a retroviral lineage study. A strong preference for cells to remain in their original domain of gene expression was observed, suggesting that these borders comprise developmental compartments.