Silk gland cells ofBombyx mori undergo chromosomal endoduplication throughout larval development. The DNA content of both posterior and middle silk gland nuclei increased by 300000 times the haploid genomic content, amounting to 18 rounds of replication. The DNA doubling time is approximately 48 h and 24 h during the fourth and fifth instars of larval development. However, DNA content does not change during the interim moult. Concomitant with DNA content, DNA polymerase activity also increases as development progressed. Enzyme activity is predominantly due to DNA polymerase α with no detectable level of polymerase β. DNA polymerase α from silk gland extracts was purified to homogeneity (using a series of columns involving ionexchange, gel-filtration and affintiy chromatography), resulting in a 4000-fold increase in specific activity. The enzyme is a heterogeneous multimer of high molecular mass, and the catalytic (polymerase) activity is resident in the 180-kDa subunit. The enzyme shows a PI of 6.2 and theKm values for the dNTP vary over 5–16 μM. The polymerase is tightly associated with primase activity and initiates primer synthesis in the presence of ribonucleoside triphosphates on a single-stranded DNA template. The primase activity is resident in the 45-kDa subunit. The enzyme is devoid of any detectable exonuclease activity. The abundance of DNA polymerase α in silk glands and its strong association with the nuclear matrix suggest a role in the DNA endoduplication process.