A new transgenic mouse mutagenesis test system has been developed for the efficient detection of point mutations and deletion mutations in vivo. The mice carry lambda EG10 DNA as a transgene. When the rescued phages are infected into Escherichia coli YG6020-expressing Cre recombinase, the phage DNA is converted into plasmid pYG142 carrying the chloramphenicol-resistance gene and the gpt gene of E. coli. The gpt mutants can be positively detected as colonies arising on plates containing chloramphenicol and 6-thioguanine. The EG10 DNA carries a chi site along with the red and gam genes so that the wild-type phages display Spi- (sensitive to P2 interference) phenotype. Mutant phages lacking both red and gam genes can be positively detected as plaques that grow in P2 lysogens of E. coli. These mutant phages are called lambda Spi-. The spontaneous gpt mutation frequencies of five independent transgenic lines were 1.7 to 3.3 x 10(-5) in bone marrow. When the mice were treated with ethylnitrosourea (single i.p. treatments with 150 mg/kg body weight; killed 7 days after the treatments), mutation frequencies were increased four- to sevenfold over the background in bone marrow. The average rescue efficiencies were more than 200,000 chloramphenicol-resistant colonies per 7.5 micrograms bone marrow DNA per packaging reaction. In contrast to gpt mutation frequencies, spontaneous Spi- mutation frequencies were 1.4 x 10(-6) and 1.1 x 10(-6) in bone marrow and sperm, respectively. No spontaneous Spi- mutants have been detected so far in spleen, although 930,000 phages rescued from untreated mice were screened. In gamma-ray-treated animals, however, induction of Spi- mutations was clearly observed in spleen, at frequencies of 1.4 x 10(-5) (5 Gy), 1.2 x 10(-5) (10 Gy), and 2.0 x 10(-5) (5O Gy). These results suggest that the new transgenic mouse "gpt delta" could be useful for the efficient detection of point mutations and deletion mutations in vivo.