We have asked whether oncogenesis by the mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV), a slowly oncogenic retrovirus, involves integration of viral DNA within a certain region of the host genome. We first identified a C3H mouse mammary tumor bearing a single new MMTV provirus and cloned a 19 kilobase (kb) DNA restriction fragment containing a junction of viral and host sequences. Host sequences from this clone were used to retrieve 25 kb of the uninterrupted locus (termed MMTV int1) from a bacteriophage library of normal mouse DNA. Hybridization with subcloned DNA fragments of MMTV int1 detected abnormal restriction fragments in digests of DNA from 18 of 26 C3H mammary tumors. The rearrangements all appeared to be due to the insertion of an MMTV provirus, and the integration sites were located in at least five clusters over a total distance of 19 kb. A polyadenylated 2.6 kb RNA species transcribed from int1 was found in the few tumors tested, but not in lactating mammary glands from C3H mice. Of 12 tested viral oncogenes, none exhibited homology with cloned DNA from this locus. We propose that tumorigenesis by MMTV is strongly favored by proviral insertion within the int1 locus, perhaps as a consequence of enhanced expression of a novel cellular oncogene.