Lineage studies conducted in the retina more than 25 years ago demonstrated the multipotency of retinal progenitor cells (RPCs). The number and types of cells produced by individual RPCs, even from a single time point in development, were found to be highly variable. This raised the question of whether this variability was due to intrinsic differences among RPCs or to extrinsic and/or stochastic effects on equivalent RPCs or their progeny. Newer lineage studies that have made use of molecular markers of RPCs, retrovirus-mediated lineage analyses of specific RPCs and live imaging have begun to provide answers to this question. RPCs that produce two postmitotic daughter cells - that is, terminally dividing RPCs - have been the most well characterized RPCs to date, and have been shown to produce specific types of daughter cells. In addition, recent studies have begun to shed light on the mechanisms that drive the temporal order in which retinal cells are born.