PURPOSE: To investigate the link between radiosensitivity and telomere length in murine lymphoid cell line stocks that have similar genetic backgrounds but different radiosensitivities. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We used two stocks from both the parental L5,178Y-R cell line and the repair-deficient radiosensitive subline, L5,178Y-S, to assess telomere length. We used terminal restriction fragment analysis and flow-fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) telomere length assessment to determine telomere lengths in the related radiosensitive and non-radiosensitive cell lines. Each cell line was further tested for retention of its original radiation response phenotype using cell growth assays after treatment with ionizing radiation. RESULTS: One stock of L5,178Y-R cells had long telomeres, whereas the other stock had short telomeres. Likewise, one stock of L5,178Y-S cells had long telomeres, whereas the other stock had short telomeres. Telomere lengths in these cell lines were relatively stable for over 80 divisions in culture. Each cell line was confirmed to have retained its original radiosensitivity phenotype. CONCLUSION: We conclude that radiosensitivity is independent of telomere length in these genetically similar cell lines.