Genes that are up- and down-regulated by thyroid hormone in the tail resorption program of Xenopus laevis have been isolated by a gene expression screen, sequenced, and identified in the GenBank data base. The entire program is estimated to consist of fewer than 35 up-regulated and fewer than 10 down-regulated genes; 17 and 4 of them, respectively, have been isolated and characterized. Up-regulated genes whose function can be predicted on the basis of their sequence include four transcription factors (including one of the thyroid hormone receptors), an extracellular matrix component (fibronectin) and membrane receptor (integrin), four proteinases, a deiodinase that degrades thyroid hormone, and a protein that binds the hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing factor, which has been implicated in controlling thyroid hormone synthesis in Xenopus tadpoles. All four down-regulated genes encode extracellular proteins that are expressed in tadpole epidermis. This survey of the program provides insights into the biology of metamorphosis.