The RNA of a replication-defective (rd) mutant, isolated from stocks of nondefective (nd) Schmidt-Ruppin Rous sarcoma virus of subgroup A (SR-A) and termed SR-N8, was compared to the RNAs of SR-A, of a transformation-defective derivative of SR-A (td SR-A) and of rd Bryan Rous sarcoma virus, RSV (minus). The molecular mass of the 30-40S species of SR-N8 RNA was estimated to be 21% (congruent to 7.5 to 8 times 10-5 daltons) smaller than that of SR-A by (i) electrophoresis in polyacrylamide gels and (ii) analyses of RNA complexity based on RNase T1-resistant oligonucleotides. ST-N8 shares probably all (=14) of its large RNase T1-resistant oligonucleotides with the RNA of SR-A as judged from the chromatographic distribution and the RNase A-resistant fragments obtained from RNase T1-resistant oligonucleotides. However, SR-N8 RNA lacked six large oligonucleotides which were present in the RNAs of SR-A and td SR-A. Conversely, the RNAs of SR-A, and of SR-N8 contained two oligonucleotides not found in td SR-A. The RNA of SR-N8 was found to differ from that of RSV (minus) in its electrophoretic mobility and its fingerprint pattern. It is concluded that the RNA of SR-N8 was generated by a deletion of SR-A. The extent of this deletion is compatible with the notion that the genetic information for the large viral envelope glycoprotein (molecular mass = 70,000-85,000 daltons) has been lost from the RNA of SR-A to yield SR-N8 RNA. From a comparison of td and rd deletion mutants, it appears that loss of different functions corresponds to the absence of different oligonucleotides in their RNA.