In vertebrates, three troponin T (TnT) genes, cardiac TnT (cTnT), skeletal muscle fast-twitch TnT (fTnT), and slow-twitch TnT (sTnT), have evolved for the regulation of striated muscle contraction. To understand the mechanism for muscle fiber-specific expression of the TnT genes, we compared their expression patterns during mouse development. Our data revealed that the TnT expression in the developing embryo was not as restricted as that in the adult. In addition to a strong expression in the developing heart beginning at day 7.5 p.c (postcoitum), the cTnT transcript was detected at later stages in some skeletal muscles, where beginning at day 11.75 p.c. the fTnT and sTnT genes were also expressed. Only sTnT but not fTnT was found transiently in the developing heart. At day 13.5 p.c., expressions of all three genes were detected in the developing tongue and this co-expression continued to day 16.5 p.c. with the fTnT isoform being predominant. At this stage, overlapping and distinct expression patterns of both sTnT and fTnT genes were also evident in many developing skeletal muscles. These data suggest that different muscles during development undergo a complex change in TnT isoforms resulting in different contractile properties. Unexpectedly, the cTnT transcript was persistently found in the developing bladder, where presumably smooth muscle is present. In transgenic mice, expression of a LacZ gene driven by a rat cTnT promoter (−497 to +192 bp) was very similar to that of the endogenous cTnT gene, suggesting that this promoter contained regulatory elements sufficient for the control of tissue-specific cTnT expression during development. Anat Rec 263:72–84, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.