N-Methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU) induces mammary carcinoma in female rats when given intravenously. After a single intravenous dose of N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (5 mg/100 g body wt.), we were unable to detect a shift of rat mammary gland DNA on an alkaline sucrose gradient. However, the alkylated products in DNA, 7-methylguanine and O6-methylguanine, were determined at various times following treatment with N-methyl-N-nitrosourea. O6-Methylguanine was removed from the DNA at a slower rate than 7-methylguanine and increased in the DNA with a second injection of N-methyl-N-nitrosourea. 3-Methyladenine was not detected in DNA from the mammary gland of the rat. These data support previous work with brain and bladder that suggest the persistence of O6-methylguanine in DNA might be involved in the induction of cancer by N-methyl-N-nitrosourea.