Transgenic chickens were produced by injecting the Day-1 egg with 10(5) infectious particles of a replication-competent virus based on the Schmidt-Ruppin A strain of Rous sarcoma virus. The chickens were resistant to transforming subgroup A virus containing the src gene but not the corresponding subgroup B virus. Transgenic chickens producing bovine growth hormone (bGH) were generated using a modified virus containing the Bryan high titre polymerase gene. The virus was constructed with the bGH gene and the mouse metallothionein promoter in the reverse orientation relative to the viral structural genes. Two male chickens produced serum concentrations of approximately 100 ng bGH/ml; the birds were larger than controls and matured more rapidly. Transgenic mice required for the analysis of skeletal muscle-specific expression in vivo were produced using 5'-flanking regions of the chicken alpha-skeletal actin promoter linked to a luciferase reporter gene to determine the region essential for tissue-specific expression. The defined promoter sequences are to be used in experiments designed to direct expression of growth-promoting genes in skeletal muscle of chickens.