Female mice were X-irradiated with 0.5-4.5 Gy 2 h before mating to unirradiated males of the same strain. The dominant lethal frequencies (DLF) were determined by growing the embryos in vitro from the two-cell stage and determining the relative rates of successful embryogenesis to the blastocyst stage and to the trophectoderm outgrowth with proliferated inner cell mass stage. The DLF increased with increasing dose, the two linear aspects having a breakpoint at about 1.5 Gy. The nature of embryo failure was also dose dependent. At doses less than 2.0 Gy embryos failed predominantly after blastocyst formation, but at higher doses the embryos failed both before and after blastocyst formation. Over the dose range tested, the frequency with which lesions leading to dominant lethality were induced [i.e., -ln(1 - DLF)] increased linearly with increasing dose.

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