Abstract In situ hybridization (ISH) enables the precise localization of RNA targets and provides an avenue to study the temporal and spatial patterns of expression of specific genes. ISH has evolved from being an esoteric technique to one that is routinely used by researchers in many areas of research. A major driving force has been the development of numerous nonisotopic labeling and signal detection methods. Historically, radioactive probes and autoradiography provided sensitivity that was unattainable with nonisotopic probes. But the long exposure times required for signal detection and the perceived dangers associated with radioactivity limit its use. Advances in nonisotopic detection systems have overcome many of the limitations associated with using radiolabeled probes. One of the most significant contributions from nonisotopic methods is the ability to discriminate between multiple nucleic acid sequences simultaneously.