scid mice lack detectable B and T lymphocytes; there are no typical pre-B cells as defined by c mu and surface markers in their bone marrow and their thymus contains only 1% of the normal number of cells. In these characters scid mice seem to lack lymphoid stem cells. However, some mice have detectable serum immunoglobulin and others develop thymomas; both observations indicate that the block in lymphoid development is not absolute. To determine whether scid mice have any B-cell precursors, we looked for pre-B cells by their ability to be transformed by Abelson murine leukemia virus (A-MuLV). Surprisingly, scid mice contain as many B-cell precursors transformable with A-MuLV as normal control mice. Cell-surface markers specific for pre-B and B cells were detected on the A-MuLV-transformed bone marrow cells of both scid and normal mice, indicating that the A-MuLV-transformed cells belong to the B lineage. Interestingly, the same surface markers were undetectable on nontransformed scid bone marrow cells. We conclude from these results that scid mice have normal numbers of early B-cell precursors but that their differentiation into functional B cells is severely impaired.