To better understand the relationship between the endocrine and exocrine cell types in the Xenopus pancreas, we have cloned the Xenopus amylase cDNA and compared its expression profile with that of four other pancreatic markers: insulin, glucagon, elastase and trypsinogen. Our results demonstrate that the first pancreatic marker to be expressed is insulin, exclusively in the dorsal pancreas. These insulin-expressing cells form small groups which resemble islets, but no insulin is detected in the ventral pancreas until stage 47. In contrast, the exocrine markers, amylase, elastase and trypsinogen are first expressed only in the ventral pancreas beginning at stage 41; by stage 45 their expression extends into the dorsal pancreas. Glucagon, on the other hand, is not expressed in the pancreas until stage 45. In the endocrine cell clusters we do not find glucagon-expressing cells surrounding insulin-expressing cells, either in the tadpole or in the mature frog pancreas.