We have shown that bHLH proteins are involved in mammalian retinal development. Here we report the identification and analysis of the expression of a neurogenic differentiation gene, NeuroD, in human retina. In situ hybridization and immunocytochemical analyses of adult retina showed that NeuroD transcripts and NeuroD immunoreactivity are predominantly localized to the outer nuclear layer which contains the photoreceptors. Southern analysis of PCR-amplified cDNA revealed that NeuroD mRNA is also expressed in fetal human retina. Fetal monkey retina was used to analyse the spatial distribution of NeuroD in the developing retina. Both NeuroD transcripts and immunoreactivity are largely detected in the outer neuroblastic layer. Therefore, NeuroD may be involved in the differentiation as well as maintenance of the differentiated properties of photoreceptors.