We sequence the transcriptomes of 86,024 single cells from C. elegans embryos, spanning from gastrulation to the beginning of cuticle synthesis. We identify the lineage (from the invariant C. elegans cell lineage) and approximate developmental age of each cell in the single cell data. Using these annotations, we investigate the competing influences of cell lineage and cell fate on gene expression. Overall design: Single cell RNA-seq profiles of cells from C. elegans embryos at varying developmental stages (~100-650 minutes post first cleavage). Please note that the GSM2599701 (in GSE98561) raw data was re-analyzed and the resulting (processed) data is linked to the GSM4318946 records, which is duplicated sample record of GSM2599701 (with the re-analysis details) for the convenient retrieval of the complete raw data from SRA.