Simultaneous synthesis of two DNA duplexes encoding human and mouse epidermal growth factors (EGF) was accomplished in a single step. A 174 b.p. DNA heteroduplex, with 16 single and double base pair mismatches, was designed. One strand encoded the human EGF, and the opposite strand indirectly encoded the mouse EGF. The heteroduplex DNA was synthesized by ligation of seven overlapping oligodeoxyribonucleotides with a linearized plasmid. After transformation in E. coli HB101 (recA 13), the resulting heteroduplex plasmid served as the template in plasmid replication. Two different plasmid progenies bearing either the human or mouse EGF-coding sequence were identified by colony hybridization using the appropriate probes. However, in E. coli JM103, the same process yielded plasmid progenies encoding different chimeric EGF molecules, presumably due to crossover of human and mouse EGF gene sequences.