The insulin-like growth factors (IGF-I and IGF-II) and the IGF-I receptor are critically important for normal growth and development of the organism. Gene-deletion of these elements has demonstrated that IGF-I is important for both prenatal and postnatal development, whereas IGF-II is important during prenatal stages only. The IGF-I receptor gene-deleted mouse dies at birth apparently as a result of poor muscular development. Utilizing the conditional gene-deletion approach, we have demonstrated that mice lacking the liver IGF-I gene have an approximately 80% reduction in circulating total IGF-I levels. Despite this marked reduction, postnatal growth and development was normal, suggesting that liver IGF-I is not essential for this function. Local tissue IGF-I production was unaffected and may compensate for the lack of the liver IGF-I. Further studies are ongoing to establish the role of the endocrine vs. the autocrine/paracrine IGF-I.