Understanding the transcriptional mechanisms that underlie pancreas formation is central to the efforts to develop novel regenerative therapies for type 1 diabetes. Recently, mutations in the transcription factor GATA6 were unexpectedly shown to be the most common cause of human pancreas agenesis. In this issue of the JCI, Carrasco et al. and Xuan et al. investigate the role of Gata6 and its paralogue Gata4 in mouse embryonic pancreas and show that GATA factors are essential regulators of the proliferation, morphogenesis, and differentiation of multipotent pancreatic progenitors.