Two hybrid gene constructs consisting of wild-type and mutant polyoma regulatory regions fused to a bacterial reporter gene were inserted in the mouse germline. Both transgenes were expressed in a large number of different organs. However, marker gene expression controlled by the polyoma wild-type regulatory region was not detectable in the early embryo and remained low throughout the life of the animal while expression controlled by the polyoma F9-1 mutation was detectable in blastocysts and was significantly higher at later stages of development. The F9-1 hybrid gene was also amplifiable when large T-antigen was supplied in trans to mice or to kidney cells derived from these transgenic mice. Amplification resulted in the appearance of several hundred copies of episomal transgenes and a marked increase of marker gene RNA and protein. Our results suggest that the F9-1 mutation does not alter the target spectrum of gene expression in vivo but does create a more efficient enhancer element in the polyoma early control region. Transgene amplification based upon use of the polyoma regulatory elements may be a means of increasing expression of genes in transgenic mice.