A neutral filter elution method was used for detecting DNA double strand breaks in mouse L1210 cells after X-ray. The assay detected the number of double strand breaks induced by as little as 1000 rad of X-ray. The rate of DNA elution through the filters under neutral conditions increased with X-ray dose. Certain conditions for deproteinization, pH, and filter type were shown to increase the assay's sensitivity. Hydrogen peroxide and Bleomycin also induced apparent DNA double strand breaks, although the ratios of double to single strand breaks varied from those produced by X-ray. The introduction of double strand cuts by HpA I restriction endonuclease in DNA lysed on filters resulted in a rapid rate of elution under neutral conditions, implying that the method can detect double strand breaks if they exist in the DNA. The eluted DNA banded with a double stranded DNA marker in cesium chloride. This evidence suggested that the assay detected DNA double strand breaks. L1210 cells were shown to rejoin most of the DNA double strand breaks induced by 5-10 krad of X-ray with a half-time of about 40 minutes. (author).