Recombinant human insulin-like growth factor-I (hIGF-I) and a biologically potent variant lacking the N-terminal tripeptide (des(1–3)IGF-I) were produced from transfected Chinese hamster ovary cells. The constructs encoding the signal peptide, sequence of the mature peptide and a C-terminal extension peptide were expressed under the control of a Rous sarcoma virus promoter. Successfully transfected clones secreting correctly processed recombinant hIGF-I or des(1–3)IGF-I were selected by their secretion of IGF-I-like activity into the culture medium. The recombinant peptides were purified to homogeneity as assessed by high-performance liquid chromatography and N-terminal sequence analysis. The purified recombinant peptides exhibited biological potencies equivalent to authentic IGF-I and des(1–3)IGF-I respectively.