O6-methylguanine methyltransferase, Mgmt, constitutes the first line of defense against O6-alkylguanine, which can result in G : C to A : T transitions upon DNA replication. Mgmt has been found in organisms as diverse as archaebacteria and mammals. This evolutionary conservation suggests that all organisms may be exposed to either endogenous or environmental alkylating agents. We thus hypothesized that tissues of Mgmt-/- mice would exhibit elevated mutant frequencies. Employing the Big Blue trade mark transgenic system, we evaluated lacI mutants rescued from liver and small intestinal DNA of young Mgmt-/- mice. Interestingly, while there was a small difference between Mgmt-/- mice and controls with respect to lacI mutant frequency, no differences attributable to Mgmt deficiency were apparent in the mutational spectra. Although mutations stemming from O6-guanine alkylations would be predicted to be cumulative, we found no evidence of an Mgmt-dependent alteration in mutation spectrum in DNA samples from 12 month-old mice. To optimize our ability to detect mutations resulting from O6-alkylguanine-induced G : T mismatches, mice with combined deficiencies of Mgmt and the DNA mismatch repair molecule, Msh6, were analysed. In spite of this strategy, we observed no significant differences between Mgmt-/- Msh6-/- and Msh6-/- mouse lacI mutations, except for a trend towards a greater percentage (of total transitions) of G : C to A : T changes in Mgmt-/-Msh6-/- livers. Therefore, despite the striking evolutionary conservation of Mgmt, deficiency of this gene did not significantly impact the spontaneous lacI mutational spectrum in vivo.