We have devised a two-step procedure by which multiple copies of a heterologous gene can be consecutively integrated into the Bacillus subtilis 168 chromosome without the simultaneous integration of markers (antibiotic resistance). The procedure employs the high level of transformability of B. subtilis 168 strains and makes use of the observation that thymine-auxotrophic mutants of B. subtilis are resistant to the folic acid antagonist trimethoprim (Tmpr), whereas thymine prototrophs are sensitive. First, a thymine-auxotrophic B. subtilis mutant is transformed to prototrophy by integration of a thymidylate synthetase-encoding gene at the desired chromosomal locus. In a second step, the mutant strain is transformed with a DNA fragment carrying the heterologous gene and Tmpr colonies are selected. Approximately 5% of these appear to be thymine auxotrophic and contain a single copy of the heterologous gene at the chromosomal locus previously carrying the thymidylate synthetase-encoding gene. Repetition of the procedure at different locations on the bacterial chromosome allows the isolation of strains carrying multiple copies of the heterologous gene. The method was used to construct B. subtilis strains carrying one, two, and three copies of the Bacillus stearothermophilus branching enzyme gene (glgB) in their genomes.