A gene for somatostatin, a mammalian peptide (14 amino acid residues) hormone, was synthesized by chemical methods. This gene was fused to the Escherichia coli beta-galactosidase gene on the plasmid pBR322. Transformation of E. coli with the chimeric plasmid DNA led to the synthesis of a polypeptide including the sequence of amino acids corresponding to somatostatin. In vitro, active somatostatin was specifically cleaved from the large chimeric protein by treatment with cyanogen bromide. This represents the first synthesis of a functional polypeptide product from a gene of chemically synthesized origin.