Structural alterations within the myogenic and neurogenic developmental gene Pax7 which involve TaqI recognition sequences have previously been reported. These alterations are associated with differences in the efficiency of regrowth of damaged skeletal muscle. To identify other structural features of Pas genes which may influence skeletal muscle regrowth, variation in the structure and methylation status of Pax7 and the closely related gene Pax3 has been sought among different mouse strains and during gene expression using the restriction endonucleases MspI and HpaII. Following MspI digestion, RFLPs within Pax7 have been found which most likely reflect intron size variability within the paired box. Differences in the size of MspI and HpaII fragments hybridising with Pax-7 and Pax3 region specific sub-probes indicate that the paired boxes are hypomethylated, whereas the region encoding the homeodomain of each gene is highly methylated in the spleen and other tissues from adult mice. In the skeletal muscle precursor cell line C2C12, which expresses Pax7 but not Pax3, the homeodomain encoding region of Pax7 is hypomethylated. In spleen cells, the Pax7 paired box is transcribed but the homeodomain encoding region is not. By contrast, both the paired box and the homeobox of Pax3 are hypermethylated in C2C12 cells indicating that generation of alternate transcripts from Pas genes may be controlled by DNA methylation. In contrast to Pax3, reference to the size of fragments hybridising with a Pax7 homeobox specific probe provides evidence for C(p)N(p)G methylation within and immediately downstream from the region encoding the homeodomain. Interestingly, C(p)N(p)G methylation remains when the Pax7 homeobox is expressed. Structural variation recognised by MspI digestion and differences in the methylation profile of Pax7 are not associated with the ability to regrow damaged skeletal muscle.