Abstract Mouse L fibroblasts and other mammalian cells are killed by the translation inhibitor hygromycin B. We have modified the gene conferring resistance against hygromycin B in E. coli in such a way that it can be transcribed in mammalian cells from the promoter of the HSV tk gene. The resulting plasmid, pHMR272, was transfected into mouse L fibroblasts and HeLa cells by the calcium phosphate method and upon selection produced clones resistant against hygromycin B. The transfection rate was similar to that obtained with other selective markers. This plasmid is a useful addition to the relatively small number of dominant selectable markers available for mammalian cells.