We report a cross-species expression profiling analysis of the human, mouse, and rat male meiotic transcriptional program, using enriched germ cell populations, whole gonads, and high-density oligonucleotide microarrays (GeneChips). Among 35% of the protein-coding genes present in rodent and human genomes that were found to be differentially expressed between germ cells and somatic controls, a key group of 357 conserved core loci was identified that displays highly similar meiotic and postmeiotic patterns of transcriptional induction across all three species. Genes known to be important for sexual reproduction are significantly enriched among differentially expressed core loci and a smaller group of conserved genes not detected in 17 nontesticular somatic tissues, correlating transcriptional activation and essential function in the male germ line. Some genes implicated in the etiology of cancer are found to be strongly transcribed in testis, suggesting that these genes may play unexpected roles in sexual reproduction. Expression profiling data further identified numerous conserved genes of biological and clinical interest previously unassociated with the mammalian male germ line.