Pattern formation in animal development requires that genes be expressed differentially according to position in the sheets of cells that make up the early embryo. The homoeobox-containing genes of Drosophila are control genes active both in the establishment of a segmentation pattern and in the specification of segment identity. In situ hybridization experiments confirm that these genes are expressed in a segmentally-restricted manner and that their expression presages morphological differentiation of segmental structures. Homoeobox genes have recently been isolated from the mouse and have been shown to be expressed during mouse development. Using in situ hybridization, we show here that expression of the mouse homoeobox gene Mo-10 (ref. 7) is spatially restricted in the developing embryo and that localization of expression is already evident within the germ layers before their morphological differentiation. These findings support the suggestion that the homoeobox genes of mammals, like those of Drosophila, may be important in pattern formation.