With the goal of performing astrocyte-specific modification of genes in the mouse, we have generated a transgenic line expressing Cre recombinase under the control of the human glial fibrillary acidic protein (hGFAP) promoter. Activity was monitored by crossing the hGFAP-cre transgenics with either of two reporter lines carrying a lacZ gene whose expression requires excision of loxP-flanked stop sequences. We found that lacZ expression was primarily limited to the central nervous system, but therein was widespread in neurons and ependyma. Cell types within the brain that notably failed to activate lacZ expression included Purkinje neurons of the cerebellum and choroid plexus epithelium. Onset of Cre expression began in the forebrain by e13.5, suggesting that the hGFAP promoter is active in a multi-potential neural stem cell. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.