The transfer of the human gene for hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT) into human bone marrow cells was accomplished by use of a retroviral vector. The cells were infected in vitro with a replication-incompetent murine retroviral vector that carried and expressed a mutant HPRT complementary DNA. The infected cells were superinfected with a helper virus and maintained in long-term culture. The production of progeny HPRT virus by the bone marrow cells was demonstrated with a colony formation assay on cultured HPRT-deficient, ouabain-resistant murine fibroblasts. Hematopoietic progenitor cells able to form colonies of granulocytes or macrophages (or both) in semisolid medium in the presence of colony stimulating factor were present in the nonadherent cell population. Colony forming units cloned in agar and subsequently cultured in liquid medium produced progeny HPRT virus, indicating infection of this class of hematopoietic progenitor cell.