Using a series of BALB/c mice congenic for various DBA/2 genes, we were able to establish that DBA/2 mice carry a gene on chromosome 5, at or near the Rmcfr locus, that plays a major role in resistance to early erythroleukemia induced by injection of Friend murine leukemia virus (F-MuLV) into newborn mice. The fact that this gene controls the replication of mink cell focus-inducing (MCF) viruses strengthens the case for these viruses playing a crucial role in the development of erythroleukemia, since failure to replicate MCF viruses results in resistance to early erythroleukemia. The expression of the Rmcfr gene is correlated with the constitutive expression of an MCF virus-related envelope glycoprotein that apparently blocks the receptor for MCF viruses, preventing their spread. Thus, the Rmcfr gene is either a structural gene for this unique protein, which can block the receptor for MCF viruses, or is a regulatory gene that controls expression of such a structural gene. Although the Rmcfr gene is clearly involved in resistance to the early erythroleukemia induced by F-MuLV, it appears to have no effect on the late myeloid, lymphoid or erythroid diseases that appear in DBA/2 and other strains of mice after injection of F-MuLV, consistent with data indicating that replication of MCF viruses is not required for the development of these late diseases. Our studies with congenic and backcross mice also indicate that, in addition to the Rmcfr gene, other genes of DBA/2 origin may contribute to resistance to F-MuLV-induced early erythroleukemia by mechanisms other than blocking the replication of MCF viruses.