THE D-type cyclins (D1, D2 and D3) are critical governors of the cell-cycle clock apparatus during the G1 phase of the mammalian cell cycle. These three D-type cyclins are expressed in overlapping, apparently redundant fashion in the proliferating tissues. To investigate why mammalian cells need three distinct D-type cyclins, we have generated mice bearing a disrupted cyclin D2 gene by using gene targeting in embryonic stem cells. Cyclin D2-deficient females are sterile owing to the inability of ovarian granulosa cells to proliferate normally in response to follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), whereas mutant males display hypoplastic testes. In ovarian granulosa cells, cyclin D2 is specifically induced by FSH via a cyclic-AMP-dependent pathway, indicating that expression of the various D-type cyclins is under control of distinct intracellular signalling pathways. The hypoplasia seen in cyclin D2(-/-) ovaries and testes prompted us to examine human cancers deriving from corresponding tissues. We find that some human ovarian and testicular tumours contain high levels of cyclin D2 messenger RNA.