Over the last few years we have utilized a system to genetically engineer foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) to produce live-attenuated vaccine candidates. These candidates have been generated in the genetic background of a tissue culture-adapted strain of serotype A12 virus. Based on this A12 system, we created a virus lacking the sequence encoding the leader (L) proteinase (Piccone et al., 1995), and demonstrated that this leaderless virus, A12-LLV2 was avirulent in bovine and swine, and could be used as an attenuated vaccine (Mason et al., 1997; Chinsangaram et al., 1998). The current study shows that a similar leader-deleted chimeric virus containing the genome of the type A12 virus with a substituted type O1 capsid coding region from a bovine-virulent virus can be constructed, and that the virus has low, but detectable virulence in swine. A second chimera specifying a tissue culture-adapted type O1 capsid lacking the RGD cell binding site, was avirulent in swine, but was not sufficiently immunogenic to provide protection from challenge. These results are described with respect to mechanisms of attenuation and antigen formation in live-attenuated virus-inoculated animals.