A technique for introducing exogenous DNA into the chromosomes of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is presented. A cloned C. elegans amber suppressor tRNA gene, sup-7, is used as a selectable marker. The activity of this amber suppressor is selected for by injecting worms which carry an amber termination mutation in a gene (tra-3) whose function is required for fertility. Transient expression of sup-7 is evidenced by the presence of fertile (rescued) animals in the generation after injection. In a fraction of cases, these fertile animals give rise to stable suppressor lines (eight have been characterized so far). Each of the stable suppressor lines carries injected DNA sequences. The suppressor activities have been mapped to chromosomal loci, indicating that the exogenous DNA has integrated into the genome. This technique has been used to introduce a chimeric gene containing a Drosophila heat shock promoter element fused to coding sequences from the Escherichia coli beta-galactosidase gene. This chimeric gene functions and is heat inducible in the resulting stably transformed lines.