The development of the cortex is an elaborate process that integrates a plethora of finely tuned molecular processes ranging from carefully regulated gradients of transcription factors, dynamic changes in the chromatin landscape, or formation of protein complexes to elicit and regulate transcription. Combined with cellular processes such as cell type specification, proliferation, differentiation, and migration, all of these developmental processes result in the establishment of an adult mammalian cortex with its typical lamination and regional patterning. By examining in-depth the role of one transcription factor, Pax6, on the regulation of cortical development, its integration in the regulation of chromatin state, and its regulation by cis-regulatory elements, we aim to demonstrate the importance of integrating each level of regulation in our understanding of cortical development. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:609–629, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.