Of the approximately 1,000 odorant receptor (OR) genes in the mouse genome, an olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) is thought to express one gene, from one allele. This is reminiscent of immunoglobulin and T-cell receptor genes, which undergo DNA rearrangements in lymphocytes. Here, we test the hypothesis that OR gene choice is controlled by DNA rearrangements in OSNs. Using permanent genetic marking, we show that the choice by an OSN to express an allele of the OR gene M71 is irreversible. Using M71-expressing OSNs as donors for nuclear transfer, we generate blastocysts, embryonic stem (ntES) cell lines and clonal mice. DNA analysis of these cell lines, whose genome is clonally derived from an M71-expressing OSN, does not reveal DNA rearrangements or sequence alterations at the M71 locus. OSNs that differentiate from ntES cells after injection into blastocysts are not restricted to expression of M71 but can express other OR genes. Thus, M71 gene choice is irreversible but is reset upon nuclear transfer, and is not accompanied by genomic alterations.