Rats accustomed to eating during the first 8h of a daily 12h dark period re-established about 80% of intact liver weight, protein and DNA within 4 days following partial hepatectomy; further increases were not observed. Liver thymidine kinase activity and thymidine incorporation into liver DNA exhibited marked daily oscillations during liver regeneration. Maximum values were observed near the end of the dark period both in intact growing rats and in rats partially hepatectomized 2h before the end of the dark period. The time of day of surgery affected thymidine kinase activity and thymidine incorporation into DNA at specific times following partial hepatectomy. This seriously affects the interpretation of reports of experiments where the time of day of killing has been held constant and time of surgery varied. Highly significant correlation coefficients were observed for thymidine incorporation before killing versus thymidine kinase activity at time of killing and for thymidine versus orotic acid incorporation into DNA of livers from rats partially hepatectomized 2h before the end of the dark period and killed at 12h intervals. Thymidylate phosphatase activity returned to the normal amount at a rate similar to that for liver protein. Thymidylate phosphatase did not affect the validity of the thymidine kinase assay. The relationship of [14C]orotic acid to [3H]thymidine incorporation into liver DNA varied with the time of day, with the age of the rat and during the regeneration of the liver.