Drosophila uses 50 different olfactory receptor neuron (ORN) classes that are clustered within distinct sensilla subtypes to decipher their chemical environment. Each sensilla subtype houses 1-4 ORN identities that arise through asymmetric divisions of a single sensory organ precursor (SOP). Despite a number of mutational studies investigating the regulation of ORN development, a majority of the transcriptional programs that lead to the different ORN classes in the developing olfactory system are unknown. Here we use transcriptional profiling across the time series of antennal development to identify novel transcriptional programs governing the differentiation of ORNs. We surveyed four critical developmental stages of the olfactory system: 3rd instar larval (prepatterning), 8 hours after puparium formation (APF, SOP selection), 40 hrs APF (neurogenesis), and adult antennae. We focused on the expression profiles of olfactory receptor genes and transcription factors - the two main classes of genes that regulate the sensory identity of ORNs. We identify distinct clusters of genes that have overlapping temporal expression profiles suggesting they have a key role during olfactory system development. We show that the expression of the transcription factor distal antenna (dan) is highly similar to other prepatterning factors and is required for the expression of a subset of ORs.