Persistent infectious virus was detected in the majority of spleens of (C57BL/10 X A.BY)F1 mice after spontaneous recovery from Friend virus-induced erythroleukeima. The Friend murine leukemia helper virus (F-MuLV) was detected in titers up to 3 X 10(5) PFU/g of spleen. The defective spleen focus-forming virus (SFFV) was present in much lower titers and could be detected in cell-free spleen homogenates only after amplification of virus titer by growth of virus in vitro on SC1 cells. The incidence of cells producing F-MuLV alone in spleens after recovery from leukemia was 0.003 to 0.3%, and the incidence of cells producing both F-MuLV and SFFV was less than 0.0001 to 0.01%. In most recovered mouse spleens there appeared to be a selective reduction of SFFV relative to F-MuLV.