Differentiation of specific cell types during animal development can be detected by monitoring expression of appropriate genes. For this study, six different beta-galactosidase expression patterns which can be used as differentiation markers in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans are described. An earlier promoter trap screen identified pools of recombinant plasmids which gave patterns of beta-galactosidase expression when used to transform C. elegans. Each recombinant plasmid contained a random fragment of C. elegans genomic DNA fused upstream of a promoterless lacZ gene. Six of these pools were chosen, and individual pattern-producing plasmids within these pools were identified. The expression patterns have been characterized more thoroughly than in the original screen, thereby providing molecular markers for differentiation of several cell types. Many of the expression patterns involve more than one cell type. The genomic origin of the inserts of active plasmids were determined through localization on the physical genome map.