Mice homozygous for the scid mutation (scid mice) are severely deficient in functional B and T lymphocytes. The mutation appears to impair the recombination of antigen receptor genes and thereby causes an arrest in the early development of B and T lineage-committed cells; other hematopoietic cell types appear to develop and function normally. The arrest in lymphocyte development is not absolute; some young adult scid mice are "leaky" and generate a few clones of functional B and T cells. By 10-14 months of age, virtually all scid mice are leaky. Scid mice readily support normal lymphocyte differentiation and can be reconstituted with normal lymphocytes from other mice and even partially reconstituted with human lymphocytes. They also support the growth of allogeneic and xenogeneic tumors. Thus, scid mice are of interest for studies of both normal and abnormal lymphocyte development and function. In addition, they can be used to study the function of nonlymphoid cell types in the absence of lymphocytes.