Apoptosis is an important process in development and tissue homeostasis. To understand the similarities and differences in the apoptosis machinery in different normal, developmental, and diseased tissues, the expression profiles of 109 apoptosis-pathway-related genes in 82 mouse tissues and experimental conditions were examined using Incyte Mouse GEMI cDNA arrays. It has been found that the compositions of the apoptotic machinery vary among different tissues, developmental stages, and disease states, with subsets of apoptotic genes co-ordinately expressed in the 82 tissues and experimental conditions. Additional genes whose expression profiles resemble selected genes from the 109 apoptotic gene list were also identified. This study provides valuable information on possible molecular mechanisms of differential apoptotic responses to developmental signals, environmental stimuli, and therapeutic treatments in tissue-specific manner. © 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.