In this study we develop methods of examining gene expression dynamics, how and when genes change expression, and demonstrate their application in a meta-analysis involving over 29,000 microarrays. By defining measures across many experimental conditions, we have a new way of characterizing dynamics, complementary to measures looking at changes in absolute variation or breadth of tissues showing expression. We show conservation in overall patterns of dynamism across three species (human, mouse, and rat) and show associations with known disease-related genes. We discuss the enriched functional properties of the sets of genes showing different patterns of dynamics and show that the differences in expression dynamics is associated with the variety of different transcription factor regulatory sites. These results can influence thinking about the selection of genes for microarray design and the analysis of measurements of mRNA expression variation in a global context of expression dynamics across many conditions, as genes that are rarely differentially expressed between experimental conditions may be the subject of increased scrutiny when they significantly vary in expression between experimental subsets.