Growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9) is preferentially expressed in oocytes and is essential for female fertility. To identify regulatory elements that confer high-level expression of GDF9 in the ovary but repression in other tissues, we generated transgenic mice in which regions of the Gdf9 locus were fused to reporter genes. Two transgenes (−10.7/ 5.6mGdf9-GFP) and (−3.3/ 5.6mGdf9-GFP) that contained sequences either 10.7 or 3.3 kb upstream and 5.6 kb downstream of the Gdf9 initiation codon demonstrated expression specifically in oocytes, thereby mimicking endogenous Gdf9 expression. In contrast, transgenes −10.7mGdf9-Luc and −3.3mGdf9-Luc, which lacked the downstream 5.6-kb region, demonstrated reporter expression not only in oocytes but also high expression in male germ cells. This suggests that the downstream 5.6-kb sequence contains a testis-specific repressor element and that 3.3 kb of 5′-flanking sequence contains all the cis-acting elements for directing high expression of Gdf9 to female (and male) germ cells. To define sequences responsible for oocyte expression of Gdf9, we analyzed sequences of Gdf9 genes from 16 mammalian species. The approximately 400 proximal base pairs upstream of these Gdf9 genes are highly conserved and contain a perfectly conserved E-box (CAGCTG) sequence. When this 400-bp region was placed upstream of a luciferase reporter (−0.4mGdf9-Luc), oocyte-specific expression was observed. However, a similar transgene construct (−0.4MUT-mGdf9-Luc) with a mutation in the E-box abolished oocyte expression. Likewise, the presence of an E-box mutation in a longer construct (−3.3MUT-mGdf9-Luc) abolished expression in the ovary but not in the testis. These observations indicate that the E-box is a key regulatory sequence for Gdf9 expression in the ovary.