Notch receptors are involved in regulating the balance between cell differentiation and stem cell proliferation during the development of numerous tissues (Artavanis-Tsakonas, S., Matsuno, K., Fortini, M. E., 1995. Notch signaling. Science 268, 225-232). Here the expression of all four vertebrate Notch genes, their ligands, and some down-stream targets is analyzed during mouse pancreatic organogenesis. Notch 1 is the first Notch gene expressed in the pancreatic epithelium, and coexpression with HES 1 suggests that the Notch 1 pathway is activated. Notch 2 expression follows later when pancreatic buds branch and is restricted to embryonic ducts, believed to be the source for endocrine and exocrine stem cells. Notch 3 and Notch 4 are expressed in pancreatic mesenchyme and later in endothelial cells. Together these descriptive data comprise a framework for understanding the cellular basis for Notch function during pancreatic development.