Chinese hamster fibroblasts were pulse labelled with 5-bromodeoxyuridine and exposed at time intervals (Tsub(i)) to near-ultraviolet (U.V.A.) light in the presence of a bisbenzimidazole derivative (Hoechst 33342). The sensitivity of the cells in terms of colony forming ability fluctuated depending on Tsub(i). Inhibition of DNA synthesis also depended on Tsub(i) and was maximal when Tsub(i)=O. Using the alkaline elution technique it was shown that the effect of a large dose of light was to inhibit both initiation and elongation of DNA chains. These effects were most pronounced for Tsub(i)=O. It is concluded that DNA damage in an active replicon can inhibit initiation of new replicons and that damage localized behind the replication fork can retard elongation of nascent DNA chains. This effect on chain elongation decreases with increased distance of the damage from the replication fork.