This study was performed to investigate the developmental potential of microinjected embryos recovered from superovulated prepuberal lambs. Fifty-nine mixed-bred lambs (about 3 mo old) were superovulated either with 18 mg FSH-P with (Group FSH/+S) or without (Group FSH/-S) progestagen treatment, or with 10 mt Ovagen(R) following progestagen treatment (Group OVA/+S). Al animals received hCG to induce ovulation. Ovulation rates and the number of ova recovered per animal for the different groups were 8.7 and 4.7 (55%, FSH/+S); 7.3 and 3.2 (42%, FSH/-S); and 6.4 and 4.0 (65%, OVA/+S), respectively. No significant differences were seen in the ovulation and the recovery rates, but animals without progestagen treatment showed a significantly lower fertilization rate (44%) when compared with progestagen-treated groups (87%; P<0.001). Foreign DNA was microinjected into the pronuclei of fertilized ova (n=155), which were transferred (n=98) into synchronized recipient ewes (n=21). Two animals were detected pregnant and both gave birth to a single lamb. Results of superovulation and embryo recovery from prepuberal lambs were promising, but the low rate of development to term indicates that ova recovered from prepuberal lambs have reduced developmental competence in vivo. Although 2 lambs were born, it seems that this is not a successful method for use in future gene transfer programs. (C) 1999 by Elsevier Science Inc.