A monoclonal antibody, RC1, has been generated which provides a selective and sensitive immunohistochemical marker of radial glial cells and related cell forms during development of the mouse CNS. Beginning on embryonic day E10, immunocytochemistry performed on cryostat sections stains throughout the CNS a subpopulation of cells in the ventricular zone with radial processes that terminate with endfeet at the pial surface. These processes become fasciculated and attain maximal densities by E12-14 in the spinal cord and lower brainstem and by E14-16 in the midbrain, cerebellum and forebrain. Fasciculation is especially prominent for a subclass of these cells at the midline of the brainstem and spinal cord. As nuclear and cortical structures develop, the trajectories of the radial fiber fascicles undergo systematic and region-specific distortions in their initially simple linear configuration, in the process maintaining a consistent spatial registration of germinal ventricular zones with distal sites of assembly of post-migratory neurons. In the late fetal period, radial glial progressively disappear and scattered immature astrocytes bearing multiple fine processes appear in most regions of the CNS. In the spinal cord, a transitional unipolar radial form is identified in the emerging ventral and lateral funiculi between E13 and E17. In the cerebellum, precursors to the unipolar Bergmann glial cell are identified by E15, and in the retina, precursors of the bipolar Müller cell are identified by E16. Postnatally, RC1-stained radial glia become sparse, and after one week, immunoreactive cells include only ependymal cells, hypothalamic tanycytes, Bergmann glia, Müller cells, a unipolar radial form in the dentate gyrus, and a subpopulation of white matter astrocytes. These results suggest that radial cells of astroglial lineage comprise a diverse set of cell classes which subserve multiple functions in the developing and adult brain.