The characteristics of an organism are determined by the genes expressed within it. A method was developed, called serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE), that allows the quantitative and simultaneous analysis of a large number of transcripts. To demonstrate this strategy, short diagnostic sequence tags were isolated from pancreas, concatenated, and cloned. Manual sequencing of 1000 tags revealed a gene expression pattern characteristic of pancreatic function. New pancreatic transcripts corresponding to novel tags were identified. SAGE should provide a broadly applicable means for the quantitative cataloging and comparison of expressed genes in a variety of normal, developmental, and disease states.