Despite decades of investigation, the molecular pathways triggered by estrogen that lead to tissue-specific cell proliferation, differentiation and survival are only superficially understood. If we are to modulate the actions of estrogen selectively in these processes, continued investigation using biologically relevant models is essential. The chick oviduct emerged as an early model for investigating the mechanism of action of steroid hormones because of its exquisite responsiveness to them. Unfortunately, because of experimental limitations, this model has been neglected in the past decade. Reviving this model has become intellectually attractive and technically feasible.