We have been transducing mouse hematopoietic cells with the human MDR1 (MDR) gene in retroviral vectors to determine the optimal conditions for retroviral gene transfer as a model system for potential human gene therapy. In these studies, we have demonstrated transduction and expression of the human MDR gene using ecotropic and amphotropic MDR- retroviral producer lines. To obtain more mouse hematopoietic cells for detailed study, mouse fetal liver cells (FLC) have been used for MDR transduction and expression, and to reconstitute the ablated marrows of live adult mice. FLC contain hematopoietic cells that have a reconstituting capacity comparable to that of adult mouse bone marrow cells. However, to our surprise, FLC can only be transduced with ecotropic retrovirus and not with amphotropic virus. This restriction of transduction of FLC cannot be overcome by higher titer virus. The resistance to amphotropic transduction by FLC may be part of a changing developmental program that results in a different antigen repertoire on FLC as compared with adult bone marrow cells.