The now routine application of recombinant DNA techniques to developmental neurobiology has allowed for the precise determination of the molecular participants and processes involved in the regulation of gene expression in the nervous system. From xenobiotic responses to oncogene products and cell lineage expression, it has become possible to use appropriate DNA probes in order to dissect events on chromosomes as well as demonstrate direct interactions between regulator molecules and specific genomic sites that determine gene expression. The significance of these findings to neuropathology and regeneration is just beginning to emerge as the regulation of the expression of myelin protein or of nerve growth factor receptors has become amenable to direct chemical manipulation at the genomic level. This is particularly true for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases where genetic components were already suspected. More active intervensions are likely to become possible in other aspects of trauma and disease of the nervous system.