Low, repeated doses of X-rays from a Co/sup 60/ source were used to impair the development of the granule cells and their dendritic terminals in the olfactory bulb, and the resulting effect was studied under light and electron microscopes at 9 days of age. Irradiation of rats from embryonic day 18 (in utero) to postnatal day 5 resulted, among others, in maldevelopment of the (internal) granule cell and external plexiform layers. This was accompanied by a decrease in the number and the density of the granule cells, and the remaining granule cells contained less ribosomes, regardless of their position within the layer. This implies that both supposed subtypes of granule cells were effected. In the external plexiform layer, a reduced number of mature dendrodendritic synapses and signs of harmed granule gemmules were observed. The results suggest that intrauterinal plus postnatal irradiation with low, repeated doses of X-rays may be an effective tool impairing the development of prenatally forming neurons.