Techniques that allow modification of the mammalian genome have made a considerable contribution to many areas of biological science. Despite these achievements, challenges remain in two principal areas of transgenic technology, namely gene regulation and efficient transgenic livestock production. Obtaining reliable and sophisticated expression that rivals that of endogenous genes is frequently problematic. Transgenic science has played an important part in increasing understanding of the complex processes that underlie gene regulation, and this in turn has assisted in the design of transgene constructs expressed in a tightly regulated and faithful manner. The production of transgenic livestock is an inefficient process compared to that of laboratory models, and the lack of totipotential embryonic stem (ES) cell lines in farm animal species hampers the development of this area of work. This article highlights recent progress in efficient trans gene expression systems, and the current efforts being made to find alternative means of generating transgenic livestock.