Mutations in the genes ced-3 and ced-4 prevent almost all of the programmed cell deaths that occur during Caenorhabditis elegans development. To determine the sites of action of these two genes, we performed genetic mosaic analyses. We generated C. elegans animals that carried a free chromosomal duplication bearing either ced-3(+) or ced-4(+) in an otherwise homozygous ced-3 or ced-4 genetic background. We used other genes on the duplication as markers to identify genetic mosaic animals in which the duplication was present in some but not all cells. The patterns of cell death survivors in these mosaic animals indicated that the products of both ced-3 and ced-4 function within dying cells to cause cell death.