The spermatogonial stem cells of 101/H mice have been found to be more sensitive to killing by acute X-ray doses than those of the 'standard' C3H/HeH x 101/H F/sub 1/ hybrid. Duration of the sterile period was longer throughout the 0.5-8.0-Gy dose range tested and 'recovered' testis weights, taken after recovery of fertility, were more severely reduced. The shapes of the sterile period dose-response curves were similar, but with the 101/H mice the plateau occurred at 3-5 Gy, rather than at 6 Gy. An equivalent observation was made with the testis weight data. The translocation dose-response curve was bell-shaped, as previously found with the hybrid, but yields were lower at all but the lowest doses. Notably, peak yields occurred at 3-5 Gy, rather than at 6 Gy. The altered stem cell killing and genetic responses may be explained either by a higher proportion of radiosensitive cells in the heterogeneous stem cell population or by a higher ratio of cell killing to recoverable chromosome damage which might imply a reduced repair capacity. (Auth.). 43 refs.; 5 figs.; 5 tabs.