A brief review of the historical development of the radioimmunoassay (RIA) for serum erythropoietin is given. It has been shown that there is reasonable agreement between the results obtained by RIA and those obtained by the previously used bioassay. By RIA, a mean normal serum titre of 18 mu/ml erythropoietin has been determined in a study of 445 individuals. Serum erythropoietin results for patients with polycythaemia vera have not been shown to be significantly different from normal values but in patients with secondary polycythaemia, serum titres averaging 94 mu/ml have been found. The predicted physiological changes in erythropoietin titre have also been demonstrated in humans using the RIA; increasing after bleeding and decreasing after red cell administration. Studies of erythropoietin levels in experimental animals have shown that, with the particular antiserum used, the sensitivity of the RIA is markedly reduced.