Fiber replacement has been measured in adult mdx mouse limb skeletal muscles. During the first 10 days after birth all fibers appear normal; between Week 3 and 4 there is massive fiber degeneration followed by regeneration in which close to 100% of the fibers are repaired or replaced. New fibers arising in adult mice are characterized by expression of fetal myosin mRNAs in whole muscle extracts, and by staining of individual fibers with an embryonic myosin heavy chain-specific antibody. By 10 weeks of age new fiber replacement rate, indicated by frequency of fibers reacting with antibody, is reduced to about 10%, and by 1 year of age less than 1% of the fibers are being replaced at rates above control. Total fiber number also remains fairly constant. We conclude that the fibers regenerating up to 10 weeks of age become stabilized and do not undergo further rounds of degeneration and regeneration. This is consistent with the observed benign phenotype of adult mdx animals and with the idea that once-regenerated fibers escape the catastrophic dystrophic phenotype by acquiring a function that compensates for their mdx mutation. The mechanism by which regenerated mdx fibers restore adequate function in the absence of dystrophin may, when understood, provide clues to effective nongenetic interventions for muscular dystrophy in humans where regenerated fibers continue to degenerate and where the disease is often fatal.