Gene targeting in embryonic stem (ES) cells is a powerful tool for generating mice carrying specifically designed mutations in the germline. Puromycin can completely kill ES cells within 24 to 48 h whereas G418 and hygromycin cannot. We have, therefore, proposed that the puromycin N-acetyltransferase ( pac ) gene, may be utilized as a transient gene-integration marker. Using a circular expression vector of cre and pac genes, Cre-mediated mutant cells were effectively enriched by pulse treatment of puromycin without stable integration of their genes. We have thus demonstrated the first application of pac as a transient gene-integration marker for ES cells.