Expression of the Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) genes during various stages of spermatogenesis was studied by using a combination of Northern blot analyses and in situ hybridization techniques. These studies have indicated that developmentally programmed expression of all three functional LDH genes occurs during differentiation of germ cells. The LDH/C (ldh-3) gene was expressed exclusively during meiosis and spermiogenesis, beginning in leptotene/zygotene spermatocytes and continuing through to the elongated spermatids. LDH/C (ldh-3) gene expression was accompanied by transient expression of the LDH/A (ldh-1) gene in pachytene spermatocytes and round spermatids. The LDH/B (ldh-2) gene was expressed mainly in Sertoli and spermatogonial cells. By using somatic cell hybrids, the LDH/C (ldh-3) gene has been mapped to mouse chromosome 7, establishing that it is syntenic with the LDH/A (ldh-1) gene locus. Experimental observations made in this study provide new insight into the order and sequence of events involved in the regulation of gene expression of the LDH gene family during spermatogenesis.