Nervous systems consist of diverse populations of neurons that are anatomically and functionally distinct. The diversity of neurons and the precision with which they are interconnected suggest that specific genes or sets of genes are activated in some neurons but not expressed in others. Experimentally, this problem may be considered at two levels. First, what is the total number of genes expressed in the brain, and how are they distributed among the different populations of neurons? Second, can we identify specific genes expressed in individual neurons and relate the expression of these genes to the unique functional properties of these neurons?