On p. 657, Haecker and co-workers describe a new family of plant WUSCHEL-related homeobox (WOX)genes that have conspicuous expression dynamics before fertilisation and throughout early development. WOX2 and WOX8 mRNAs co-exist in the egg cell and zygote before becoming restricted to the apical and basal daughter cells, respectively, by asymmetric cell division. WOX5 is localised to the root quiescent centre precursors and WOX1 to the cotyledon primordia,while the expression dynamics of WOX9 seem to reflect the initiation of the central domain of the embryo. These very specific expression patterns mean that WOX genes will serve as useful markers of early embryonic cell identity. Furthermore, WOX2 is required for the proper development of the apical domain,and although possible functional redundancy currently masks the functions of other WOX genes, their expression patterns may reflect important roles during early embryogenesis.