Transgene bovine oxytocin 3.5 (bOT3.5) consists of the bovine oxytocin structural gene flanked by 0.6 kbp of upstream and 1.9 kbp of downstream sequences. We have examined the expression of bOT3.5 in the female reproductive organs, and we show tissue-specific and physiological regulation dependent on the stage of pregnancy and lactation. In the ovary, no transgene expression could be detected during the estrus cycle, or during pregnancy. However, high levels of transgene RNA were found at day 1 of lactation. Expression dropped 10-fold by day 2 of lactation, and was undetectable thereafter. Interestingly, the expression of bOT3.5 in the mouse ovary at the beginning of lactation mimics that of the endogenous OT gene in the bovine ovary. Expression of the bOT3.5 transgene correlates with a parturition defect that results in considerable maternal mortality.