The mouse has an interferon-alpha (MuIFN-alpha) gene family containing at least four, and likely more than ten members. A segment of mouse chromosomal DNA and cDNAs encoding murine alpha IFNs have been cloned, and the sequence of two MuIFN-alpha DNAs determined. No intron was found in the chromosomal gene. The two coding sequences produced biologically active IFN when expressed in monkey cells under the control of an SV40 promoter, and in E.coli under the control of the ampicillinase promoter. MuIFN-alpha 1 had no detectable activity on human cells, while MuIFN-alpha 2 was 20% as active on human as on mouse cells.