The neurons in the olfactory bulb originate from molecularly defined and spatially distinct proliferative regions. Glutamatergic projection neurons are generated during the embryonic period in the local ventricular zone of the olfactory bulb, a territory in the dorsal telencephalon in which the transcription factor Pax6 is expressed. Some cells in this zone also express Tbr1, a marker of glutamatergic neurons. By contrast, embryonic olfactory bulb interneurons are derived from Gsx2 expressing cells in the dorsal lateral ganglionic eminence of the ventral telencephalon, and from progenitors outside the dorsal lateral ganglionic eminence, including the olfactory bulb neuroepithelium. Postnatally, interneurons arise from the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricle, although the rostral migratory stream and the olfactory bulb also appear to serve as a source of neurons. Transcription factors are crucial to generate all classes of neurons and glia in the olfactory bulb, both during development and adulthood. In this article, we discuss and propose models on how the spatial and temporal regulation of transcription factor expression controls the self-renewal, proliferation and cell fate of neural stem cells and progenitors, which finally leads to the generation of distinct functional subtypes of neurons in the developing and adult olfactory bulb. Anat Rec, 296:1364-1382, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.