To study allelic exclusion of TcR genes we analyzed two types (I and II) of TcR beta transgenic mice. T cells derived from both types of mice contained similar amounts of transgenic RNA transcripts; however, surface expression of the transgenic beta chain was drastically reduced in type II compared to type I. In type I transgenic mice, productive rearrangements and expression of endogenous TcR beta genes were suppressed whereas on T cells of type II mice, both transgenic and endogenous TcR beta chains were expressed on the surface of the same cell. These findings suggest that allelic exclusion of TcR genes in beta transgenic mice depends on amount and/or onset of transgene expression during thymic development. Furthermore, TcR gamma rearrangements and the population of TcR gamma/delta-bearing double-negative CD4-CD8- thymocytes were reduced fivefold in type I transgenic animals. However, the V gamma usage and the gamma/delta+ dendritic epidermal cell populations appeared normal. RNase protection analysis further revealed low levels of transgenic TcR beta chain transcripts in TcR+ gamma/delta CD4-CD8- thymocytes. These results suggest that the beta transgene only quantitatively influences the gamma/delta T cell compartment, and supports the independence of the gamma/delta population.