The utility of available animal models of depression for transgenic research is reviewed. Criteria for usefulness are non-dependence on a mechanism of action, pharmacological validity, existence of genetic determinants, availability of a mouse version, procedural simplicity, and reproducibility. The following models are reviewed: behavioral despair, tail suspension, learned helplessness, chronic mild stress, olfactory bulbectomy, DRL behavior and conditioned place preference. It is concluded that the behavioral despair and tail suspension models satisfy the criteria most closely. On the other hand, despite its procedural complexity and poor reproducibility, the chronic mild stress model shows high promise for the future.