Adenoviral vector-mediated gene transfer offers significant potential for gene therapy of many human diseases. However, progress has been slowed by several limitations. First, the insert capacity of currently available adenoviral vectors is limited to 8 kb of foreign DNA. Second, the expression of viral proteins in infected cells is believed to trigger a cellular immune response that results in inflammation and in only transient expression of the transferred gene. We report the development of a new adenoviral vector that has all viral coding sequences removed. Thus, large inserts are accommodated and expression of all viral proteins is eliminated. The first application of this vector system carries a dual expression cassette comprising 28.2 kb of nonviral DNA that includes the full-length murine dystrophin cDNA under control of a large muscle-specific promoter and a lacZ reporter construct. Using this vector, we demonstrate independent expression of both genes in primary mdx (dystrophin-deficient) muscle cells.