Residual damage manifested as reduced cloning efficiency was observed in many of the cloned progeny of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells and human carcinoma SQ-20B cells surviving X-irradiation. This stable phenotype, which we have termed delayed reproductive death, persisted for >50 generations of cell replication post-irradiation. Clones showing this phenotype were aneuploid, and formed colonies with a high proportion of giant cells. By somatic cell hybridization of CHO clones, the delayed reproductive death phenotype was found to be a dominant trait; the cloning efficiency of hybrid clones was persistently depressed, as compared with that of control hybrid cells. These results suggest that delayed reproductive death represents a specific cellular response that may persist in some of the progeny of mammalian cells for long periods after X-irradiation.
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