A cDNA microarray resource enhanced for transcripts specific to the bovine mammary gland (BMAM) has been developed and used in pilot studies to examine gene expression profiles in the mammary gland. One goal driving development of this resource was to shed some light on the pathways and mechanisms specifically related to bovine mammary gland growth and development. To accomplish this, gene expression patterns from bovine adipose, liver, adrenal, lymph, spleen, thymus, gut, and developing mammary tissue were compared using the BMAM microarray. We have thus identified a putative set of 16 genes being preferentially expressed in developing mammary gland. Another of our long-term goals is to elucidate the genes and pathways associated with bovine lactation and involution and to use these as a model for human mammary gland development as it relates to human breast cancer risks. To begin this process, we conducted a pilot study, comparing gene expression profiles of lactating bovine mammary tissue against nonlactating tissue on the BMAM microarray. Our results have yielded many novel and interesting genes exhibiting differential expression in lactating mammary tissue, including oncogenes (VAV3, C-myc), mediators of apoptosis (Caspase 8), and cell cycle regulators (LASP1).