In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans , neurons are generated from asymmetric divisions in which a mother cell divides to produce daughters that differ in fate. Here, we demonstrate that the gene pig-1 regulates the asymmetric divisions of neuroblasts that divide to produce an apoptotic cell and either a neural precursor or a neuron. In pig-1 mutants,these neuroblasts divide to produce daughters that are more equal in size, and their apoptotic daughters are transformed into their sisters, leading to the production of extra neurons. PIG-1 is orthologous to MELK, a conserved member of the polarity-regulating PAR-1/Kin1/SAD-1 family of serine/threonine kinases. Although MELK has been implicated in regulating the cell cycle, our data suggest that PIG-1, like other PAR-1 family members, regulates cell polarity.