Analysis of gene expression and enzyme activity in pooled tuber samples has previously indicated different developmental events occurring in a fixed sequential order during tuber development, starting with the up-regulation of starch synthesis then induction of protein storage followed by cell division and cell enlargement. In this report we analysed in vivo promoter activity of genes related to cell division and storage of reserves during tuber development in individual in vitro tubers, using the non invasive firefly luciferase reporter system. The average activity of the storage related promoters (AGPaseS and λPat21) was up-regulated prior to visible swelling, while the average activity of both cell cycle genes (cycB1;1 and CDC2a) showed an up-regulation after the onset of swelling. However, this novel system allowed expression analysis in individual tubers, which showed a variable up-regulation of both storage genes in relation to the moment of swelling, from 4 days before to 10 days after the onset of swelling. We conclude that during the first stages of tuber development, the moment of storage gene induction is independent from swelling. These results indicate that the developmental program of potato tubers does not consist of a fixed sequential order of events, but consists of independent developmental programs (storage and swelling), together resulting in the formation of a potato tuber. It is concluded that analysis of developmental programs by studying individuals may result in new insights, possibly obscured when using pooled samples.