The outcome of bone-marrow transplantations (BMT) carried out between 1968 and March 1, 1989, in 183 patients with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) was analysed. Recipients of HLA-identical BMTs (70) had a 76% probability of survival (median follow-up 73 months). Of the 32 treated since 1983, 97% have been cured (median follow-up 41 months). This good prognosis was associated with rapid development of T and B cell function. HLA-non-identical, T-cell-depleted, BMT (n = 100) gave significantly lower survival (52%; median follow-up 47 months). Factors associated with poor prognosis were the presence of a lung infection before BMT, absence of a protected environment, and use of female donors for male recipients. Use of a conditioning regimen significantly increased the frequency of sustained engraftment (86% vs 50% for non-conditioned BMT) and resulted in more frequent engraftment of donor B lymphocytes and myeloid cells. Donor B-cell chimerism was strongly associated with the development of normal B-cell function.