A multigene family of paired-box-containing genes (Pax genes) has been identified in the mouse. In this report, we describe the expression pattern of Pax-6 during embryogenesis and the isolation of cDNA clones spanning the entire coding region. The Pax-6 protein consists of 422 amino acids as deduced from the longest open reading frame and contains, in addition to the paired domain, a paired-type homeodomain. Beginning with day 8 of gestation, Pax-6 is expressed in discrete regions of the forebrain and the hindbrain. In the neural tube, expression is mainly confined to mitotic active cells in the ventral ventricular zone along the entire anteroposterior axis starting at day 8.5 of development. Pax-6 is also expressed in the developing eye, the pituitary and the nasal epithelium.