The pattern of RNA expression of the murine Dlx-2 (Tes-1) homeobox gene is described in embryos ranging in age from E8.5 through E11.5. Dlx-2 is a vertebrate homologue of the Drosophila Distal-less (Dll) gene. Dll expression in the Drosophila embryo is principally limited to the primordia of the brain, head and limbs. Dlx-2 is also expressed principally in the primordia of the forebrain, head and limbs. Within these regions it is expressed in spatially restricted domains. These include two discontinuous regions of the forebrain (basal telencephalon and ventral diencephalon), the branchial arches, facial ectoderm, cranial ganglia and limb ectoderm. Several mouse and human disorders have phenotypes which potentially are the result of mutations in the Dlx genes.