Ascorbic acid (vitamin C, AA) has long been considered a food supplement necessary for life and for preventing scurvy. However, it has been reported that other small molecules such as retinoic acid (vitamin A) and different forms of calciferol (vitamin D) are directly involved in regulating the expression of numerous genes. These molecules bind to receptors that are differentially expressed in the embryo and are therefore crucial signalling molecules in vertebrate development. The question is: is ascorbic acid also a signalling molecule that regulates gene expression? We therefore present and discuss recent publications that demonstrate that AA regulates the expression of a battery of genes. We offer a clue to understanding the biochemical mechanism by which AA regulates gene expression. Finally we will discuss the question of a receptor for AA and its potential involvement in embryonic development and cell differentiation.