OBJECTIVES To study the dynamics of enfuvirtide (T-20) resistance development in HIV-1-infected subjects. PATIENTS AND METHODS Clonal analysis of gp41 sequences was performed on serial samples obtained from HIV-1-infected subjects with early virologic failure of T-20-based regimens. RESULTS Enfuvirtide resistance mutations at codons 36 to 45 in the first heptad repeat of gp41 emerged within 2 weeks in most subjects and were associated with the return of plasma HIV-1 RNA level toward baseline by weeks 4 to 8. Mutations at codons 36 (G36E, G36D, or G36S) and 38 (V38A, V38G, or V38M) were the most commonly detected resistance mutations at week 2. Mutations at codons 40 (Q40H) and 43 (N43D) were more prevalent at week 4 than at week 2 and seemed to emerge more slowly than mutations at codons 36 and 38. CONCLUSIONS The rapid emergence of mutations associated with T-20 resistance in the absence of a fully suppressive antiretroviral regimen demonstrates a low genetic barrier to resistance and underscores the importance of combining T-20 with other active drugs when constructing regimens for highly treatment-experienced patients.