Large (more than 16-fold) differences in susceptibility to disruption of juvenile male reproductive development by 17beta-estradiol (E2) were detected between strains of mice. Effects of strain, E2 dose, and the interaction of strain and E2 dose on testes weight and spermatogenesis were all highly significant (P < 0.0001). Spermatid maturation was eliminated by low doses of E2 in strains such as C57BL/6J and C17/Jls. In contrast, mice of the widely used CD-1 line, which has been selected for large litter size, showed little or no inhibition of spermatid maturation even in response to 16 times as much E2. Product safety bioassays conducted with animals selected for fecundity may greatly underestimate disruption of male reproductive development by estradiol and environmental estrogenic compounds.