A binary system for gene activation and site-specific integration, based on the conditional recombination of transfected sequences mediated by the FLP recombinase from yeast, was implemented in mammalian cells. In several cell lines, FLP rapidly and precisely recombined copies of its specific target sequence to activate an otherwise silent beta-galactosidase reporter gene. Clones of marked cells were generated by excisional recombination within a chromosomally integrated copy of the silent reporter. By the reverse reaction, integration of transfected DNA was targeted to a specific chromosomal site. The results suggest that FLP could be used to mosaically activate or inactivate transgenes for analysis of vertebrate development, and to efficiently integrate transfected DNA at predetermined chromosomal locations.