In the search for genetic markers for assessing the role of duct cells in pancreas growth, we examined whether carbonic anhydrase II (CAII) has ductal cell specificity. We determined the distribution and timing of CAII expression in mouse pancreas from embryonic stage to adult. The pancreatic ducts only start expressing CAII at embryonic day (E) 18.5, with increases after birth. Around E15.5, glucagon-positive cells, but not insulin-positive cells, also express CAII, with further increases by adult. CAII expression was restricted to cells within ductal structures and glucagon-positive cells with no colocalization with any insulin-positive cells at any time. In the human pancreas, CAII expression is restricted to the ducts. Furthermore, the activity of a 1.6-kb fragment of the human promoter with Luciferase assays was moderately strong compared with the cytomegalovirus promoter in human pancreatic duct cell line (PANC-1). Thus, we believe that the CAII gene could serve as a useful pancreatic duct cell marker. Developmental Dynamics 235:1571–1577, 2006.© 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.