Tumour suppressor p53 is critical in a broad panel of tumour types in human, mouse and other mammals. Regions of the promoter and exon 1 play an important role in expression of p53. In the present study, the DNA sequences of promoter and exon 1 regions of four domestic animal species (dog, cat, horse and cattle) are determined and compared with experimental rodents (mouse, rat and hamster) and man. A broad panel of tumour types have been investigated for mutations in this regulatory area in 90 canine, 136 feline, 25 equine and 10 bovine patients. No mutation was detected in any of the tumours analysed.