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The past few years have brought much new information about the molecular mechanisms involved in the development of the pancreas, the regulation of gene expression in the β cell, and the role of growth factors in the differentiation, growth, and regeneration of β cells. The discovery of transcription factors involved in both pancreatic development and β-ceil gene expression has given a new understanding of the mechanisms behind certain forms of diabetes. The identification of hormones and growth factors involved in β-cell growth and differentiation has given insight into the signaling pathways regulating these processes. Finally, studies of gene expression during β-cell regeneration in response to various forms of damage may give clues to alternative ways of improving the survival and functional state of β cells to prevent or cure diabetes.