One transgenic rabbit line was generated carrying a fusion gene consisting of the cDNA for human IGF-1 fused to a mammary gland specific expression cassette derived from bovine alpha-S1-casein sequences. Transgene expression was shown to be strictly tissue and lactation period specific. The transgenic rabbit line was bred for six generations. All transgenic animals showed stable production of biologically active IGF-1 over the generations and no apparent effect on the physiological or reproductive performance was observed. The absence of adverse effects on homozygous transgenic rabbits suggested the absence of insertional mutagenesis. Eight hemizygous transgenic offspring analysed produced on average 363 +/- 12 mu g/ml (ranging from 223 +/- 61 to 484 +/- 39 mu g/ml) mature human IGF-1 in their milk, whereas three homozygous animals produced on average 543 +/- 41 mu g/ml (ranging from 360 +/- 15 to 678 +/- 80 mu g/ml). Homozygous huIGF-1 females clearly showed a significantly increased production performance of the recombinant protein.