Mouse erythroleukaemia cells (also called Friend cells) can be isolated from the spleen of certain strains of mice that have been infected with the Friend virus complex. The cells resemble proerythroblasts and, when exposed to dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) or a variety of other chemicals, can be induced to undergo a programme of differentiation which closely resembles the final stages of normal erythropoiesis. This includes the cessation of proliferation and large increases in the production of messenger RNA for both alpha- and beta-globin. In addition, DMSO induces a rapid (less than 2 h) decrease in c-myc mRNA levels. The c-myc oncogene is expressed in the majority of proliferating normal cells and altered expression of the gene has been implicated in the genesis of a wide variety of tumours. To study the influence of oncogene activation on differentiation, we have transfected viral-promoter-driven c-myc genes into mouse erythroleukaemia cells. Constitutive c-myc expression was found to block DMSO-induced differentiation.