Current mouse gene targeting technology is unable to introduce somatic mutations at a chosen time and/or in a given tissue. We report here that conditional site-specific recombination can be achieved in mice using a new version of the Cre/lox system. The Cre recombinase has been fused to a mutated ligand-binding domain of the human estrogen receptor (ER) resulting in a tamoxifen-dependent Cre recombinase, Cre-ERT, which is activated by tamoxifen, but not by estradiol. Transgenic mice were generated expressing Cre-ERT under the control of a cytomegalovirus promoter. We show that excision of a chromosomally integrated gene flanked by loxP sites can be induced by administration of tamoxifen to these transgenic mice, whereas no excision could be detected in untreated animals. This conditional site-specific recombination system should allow the analysis of knockout phenotypes that cannot be addressed by conventional gene targeting.