Muscle fibers specialized for fast or slow contraction are arrayed in characteristic patterns within developing limbs. Clones of myoblasts analyzed in vitro express fast and slow myosin isoforms typical of the muscle from which they derive. As a result, it has been suggested that distinct myoblast lineages generate and maintain muscle fiber pattern. We tested this hypothesis in vivo by using a retrovirus to label myoblasts genetically so that the fate of individual clones could be monitored. Both myoblast clones labeled in muscle in situ and clones labeled in tissue culture and then injected into various muscles contribute progeny to all fiber types encountered. Thus, extrinsic signals override the intrinsic commitment of myoblast nuclei to particular programs of gene expression. We conclude that in postnatal development, pattern is not dictated by myoblast lineage.