The concept of adaptive (selective) differentiation preducts that early differentiation of lymphocytes is conditioned by the environment in which such differentiation takes place. These processes appear to involve selection of lymphocytes according to their self-recognition between interacting lymphocytes is, at least in part, controlled by major histocompatibility complex-linked genes, then adaptive differentiation is also controlled by these genes. In these studies, we have tested the capacities of helper T lymphocytes and hapten-specific B lymphocytes primed in the environments of various combinations of bone marrow chimeras prepared between two parental strains (i.e. A/J and BALB/c) and their corresponding F1 hybrid (CAF1) to interact with primed B and T lymphocytes derived from conventional parent and F1 donors as well as all of the corresponding bone marrow chimera combinations. The results demonstrate clearly that (a) F1 transplanted to F1 chimeric lymphocytes display no restriction in terms of cooperative activity with all of the various partner cell combinations; (b) parent transplanted to F1 chimeric lymphocytes manifest effective cooperative activity only for partner cells from F) or parental donors corresponding to the haplotype of the original bone marrow donor, thereby behaving phenotypically just like conventional parental lymphocytes; and (c) F1 transplanted to parent chimeric lymphocytes display restricted haplotype preference in cooperating best with partner lymphocytes sharing the H-2 haplotype, either entirely or codomimantly, of the parental chimeric host. The implications of these findings for understanding certain controlling mechanisms for lymphocyte differentiation are discussed.