Rodent cells resistant to PALA, a specific inhibitor of the aspartate transcarbamylase activity of the multifunctional CAD protein, overproduce CAD as a result of amplification of the CAD gene. We cloned a functional CAD gene from Syrian hamster cells using a cosmid vector. Two independently isolated cosmids containing CAD genes have inserts 40 and 45 kb long. We introduced the cloned genes into CAD-deficient Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell mutants by fusing them with protoplasts of Escherichia coli containing the cosmids. We also introduced the cloned genes into wild-type CHO cells by selecting cells that became resistant to high concentrations of PALA following protoplast fusion. The transformants of the mutant and wild-type CHO cells contain multiple active copies of the donated Syrian hamster CAD genes. The cloned genes in three independent transformants are integrated into host-cell chromosomes at single locations identified by in situ hybridization. In two of these transformants, the genes are located in one X chromosome or in a chromosome resembling the X. In the third case, the genes are located in a small metacentric or rearranged chromosome.