Representative viruses from twelve RNA and two DNA virus genera have been successfully adapted to growth at sub-optimal temperature (cold-adapted). In almost every case, there was a correlation between acquisition of the cold-adaptation phenotype and loss of virulence in the normal host whether animal or man. Overall, the best method of cold adaptation to develop a live virus vaccine line appeared to be a stepwise lowering of the growth temperature allowing time for multiple lesions to occur and/or be selected. In addition, the starting virus should be a recent isolate not as yet adapted to a tissue culture host and the cold-adaptation process should then occur in a host heterologous to the virus' normal host. These viruses have been reviewed in the light of their cold-adaptation method and successful production of an attenuated line as virus vaccine candidate. Finally, detailed information is presented for the cold-adaptation process in influenza virus.