In this paper, we address the role of proneural genes in the formation of the dorsal organ in the Drosophila larva. This organ is an intricate compound comprising the multineuronal dome-the exclusive larval olfactory organ-and a number of mostly gustatory sensilla. We first determine the numbers of neurons and of the different types of accessory cells in the dorsal organ. From these data, we conclude that the dorsal organ derives from 14 sensory organ precursor cells. Seven of them appear to give rise to the dome, which therefore may be composed of seven fused sensilla, whereas the other precursors produce the remaining sensilla of the dorsal organ. By a loss-of-function approach, we then analyze the role of atonal, amos, and the achaete-scute complex (AS-C), which in the adult are the exclusive proneural genes required for chemosensory organ specification. We show that atonal and amos are necessary and sufficient in a complementary way for four and three of the sensory organ precursors of the dome, respectively. AS-C, on the other hand, is implicated in specifying the non-olfactory sensilla, partially in cooperation with atonal and/or amos. Similar links for these proneural genes with olfactory and gustatory function have been established in the adult fly. However, such conserved gene function is not trivial, given that adult and larval chemosensory organs are anatomically very different and that the development of adult olfactory sensilla involves cell recruitment, which is unlikely to play a role in dome formation.