In the present study, we have investigated the effect of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) on retinal regeneration in the stage 22-24 chick embryo. The neural retina was surgically removed in ovo leaving the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) intact and then slow-release, plastic implants containing bFGF were inserted into the eye. Light microscopic examination of eyes 7 days later revealed that bFGF induced retinal regeneration in a dose-dependent manner. The absence of the RPE in these eyes and the reversed polarity of the regenerated neural retina is consistent with the hypothesis that this process occurs by transdifferentiation of the RPE. This represents the first time that a known molecule has been shown to induce retinal regeneration in vivo.