Herpesvirus saimiri naturally infects squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) without producing signs of disease; infection of other New World primates, however, results in a rapidly progressing, malignant, T-cell lymphoma. Results described in this report identify a region of the viral genome that is required for oncogenicity in owl monkeys (Aotus trivirgatus); this region is not required for replication of the virus. This is believed to be the first such genomic region identified in a herpesvirus system.