The mode of death induced by gamma-irradiation in a panel of 10 mouse lymphoid or myeloid cell lines was examined. Four of these lines were known to lose viability (membrane integrity) rapidly after irradiation, whilst the others were known to lose viability considerably more slowly. However, based on the criteria of morphology and DNA degradation pattern, all 10 lines showed apoptotic death. The occurrence of apoptosis after irradiation in rapid-dying lymphoid cell lines was consistent with published results, whilst the demonstration of apoptosis in slow-dying lines was unexpected. Cells of the slow-dying lymphoid lines underwent one or more mitoses prior to death, a feature also reported for fibroblastoid cell lines. However, the occurrence of radiation-induced necrosis in fibroblasts suggests that the pathways leading to 'mitotic death' differ between fibroblastoid and lymphoid cell lines.