Placental dysfunction underlies many complications during pregnancy, and better understanding of gene function during placentation could have considerable clinical relevance. However, the lack of a facile method for placenta-specific gene manipulation has hampered investigation of placental organogenesis and the treatment of placental dysfunction. We showed previously that transduction of fertilized mouse eggs with lentiviral vectors leads to transgene expression in both the fetus and the placenta. Here we report placenta-specific gene incorporation by lentiviral transduction of mouse blastocysts after removal of the zona pellucida. All of the placentas analyzed, but none of the fetuses, were transgenic. Application of this method substantially rescued mice deficient in Ets2, Mapk14 (also known as p38α) and Mapk1 (also known as Erk2) from embryonic lethality caused by placental defects. Ectopic expression of Mapk11 also complemented Mapk14 deficiency during placentation.