To trace cell lineages in a developing vertebrate and to observe, in vivo, how behaviors of individual cells are affected by the genes they express, we created a zebrafish line containing a transgene called mosaic analysis in zebrafish (MAZe), built around a self-excising hsp70:Cre cassette. Heat shock triggers Cre recombinase-mediated recombination in a random subset of cells, bringing the transcriptional activator Gal4:VP16 under control of the EF1alpha promoter. Gal4-VP16 then activates expression of a fluorescent protein from an upstream activating sequence (UAS) promoter. Marked clones of cells expressing any desired gene product can be generated by crossing MAZe fish with other lines containing UAS-driven transgenes. The number of clones induced, and their time of origin, could be varied by adjusting heat-shock timing and duration. As an alternative to heat shock, we introduced Cre under a tissue-specific promoter in MAZe fish to generate clones in a designated tissue.