We examined the use of the mouse Pc-3 ESTR (expanded simple tandem repeat) locus and 72 human microsatellite loci as potentially sensitive biomarkers for mutagenic exposures to germ cells in mice and humans respectively. In the mouse work, we treated male mice with TCDD (2, 3, 7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin; a chemical known to induce congenital anomalies in humans and mice) and, analysed the F(1) fetuses for Pc-3 mutations. Although the incidence of anomalies was higher in the TCDD group, there were no induced mutations. However, respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) was observed in 3 of 7 fetuses born to male mice which were treated with TCDD and which showed abnormal length of Pc-3 allele. In the human studies, the children of Chernobyl liquidators were examined for mutations at a total of 72 (31 autosomal, 1 X-linked and 40 Y-linked) microsatellite loci. This study was prompted by earlier findings of increases in microsatellite mutations in barn swallows and wheat in the highly contaminated areas after the Chernobyl accident. We examined 64 liquidator families (70 children) and 66 control families (70 children). However, no increases in mutation rates were found. The estimated mean dose to the liquidators was about 39 mSv and this might be one possible reason why no increases of mutations could be found.