OLIG2 is a recently identified transcription factor involved in the specification of cells in the oligodendroglial lineage. We investigated the expression of OLIG2 by in-situ hybridisation in 21 brain tumours: nine grade II and III oligodendrogliomas, three grade II oligoastrocytomas, and nine non-oligodendroglial tumours (four grade IV astrocytomas, two meningiomas, a dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumour, and two metastases). OLIG2-positive cells corresponding to neoplastic oligodendrocytes were present in all oligodendrogliomas and oligoastrocytomas. By contrast, OLIG2 expression was not detected in the non-oligodendroglial tumours. Thus, oligodendroglioma probably arise from oligodendrocyte precursor cells. OLIG2 should prove a useful marker for the diagnosis of oligodendroglial tumours.