We examined expression and inheritance of salmonid growth hormone genes RSVLTR-rtGH1 cDNA and RSVLTR-csGH cDNA, transferred to channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) by microinjection. One to 9 copies of the foreign DNA were inserted in either head-to-tail tandem array at single insertion sites or single copies at multiple insertion sites. All P1 transgenic catfish evaluated produced salmonid growth hormone regardless of the construct. Five P1 x P1 matings were accomplished. The spawning rate and fertility of these P1 transgenics in artificial spawning conditions were comparable to those of normal channel catfish. In two of three years, 100% spawning and 100% hatch were obtained. Percent transgenic progeny observed in the five matings were 20, 52, 7, 47, and 0%, which was lower (P < 0.001, chi 2) than the 75% inheritance expected assuming the P1 brood stock had at least one copy of the foreign gene integrated and were not mosaics in the germ line. At least 7 of 10 P1 were mosaics, and a minimum of 2 of 10 P1 did not possess the salmonid growth hormone genes in their germ line. P1 transgenics grew at the same rate as their nontransgenic full siblings, which is not surprising because the P1 were mosaics. F1 transgenic progeny in two families possessing RSVLTR-csGH cDNA grew 26% faster, to 40 to 50 gm, than their nontransgenic full siblings when evaluated communally. One F1 progeny group produced by RSVLTR-rtGH1 cDNA x RSVLTR-csGH cDNA mating and one F1 progeny group (parents either RSVLTR-rtGH1 cDNA or RSVLTR-csGH cDNA) grew at the same rate as normal full siblings when grown communally to 25 gm and 60 mg, respectively. In families where F1 progeny grew faster than controls, the range in body weight and coefficient of variation for the transgenic full siblings were less than those for controls. In families where F1 progeny grew at the same rate as controls, range in body weight and coefficient of variation were similar for transgenic and normal individuals. The percent deformities observed in P1 transgenics (13.6%) was higher (P < 0.05) than in microinjected P1 nontransgenics (5.1%). Percent deformities in transgenics and control F1 channel catfish was not different (p > 0.05; 0.5 and 2.8%, respectively).