We have found that UV-induced mutation frequency in a forward non-selective assay system (scoring white adex ade2 double auxotroph mutants among the red pigmented ade2 clones) increases linearly with dose up to a maximum frequency of about 3 X 10(-3) mutants per survivor and then declines in both RAD wild-type and rad2 excision deficient strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Mutation frequencies of the RAD and the rad2 strains plotted against survival are nearly identical over the entire survival range. On this basis we conclude that unexcised pyrimidine dimers are the predominant type of pre-mutational lesions in both strains. In the RAD wild-type strain pure mutant clones outnumber sectors in a 10:1 ratio at all doses used; in rad2 this ratio varies from 1:1 at low doses up to 10:1 at high doses. As others have concluded for wild-type strains we find also in the rad2 strain that pure clone formation cannot be accounted for quantitatively by lethal sectoring events alone. We conclude that heteroduplex repair is a crucial step in pure mutant clone formation and we examine the plausibility of certain macromolecular mechanisms according to which heteroduplex repair may be coupled with replication, repair and sister strand exchange in yeast mutagenesis.