An X-ray-sensitive Chinese hamster ovary cell line was isolated by means of a semi-automated procedure in which mutagenized cells formed colonies on top of agar, were X-irradiated, and were photographed at two later times. We compared the photographs to identify colonies that displayed significant growth arrest. One of the colonies identified in this manner produced a stable line (irs1SF) that is hypersensitive to ionizing radiation. The X-ray dose at which 10% of the population survives (D10) is 2.25 Gy for irs1SF and 5.45 Gy for the parental line. The new mutant is also moderately sensitive to ethyl methanesulfonate. irs1SF performs only half as much X-ray-induced repair replication as the parental line, indicating a defect in excision repair. This defect is believed to be the primary cause of the line's radiosensitivity. Although irs1SF repairs DNA double-strand breaks at a normal rate, it repairs single-strand breaks more slowly than normal. irs1SF has an elevated number of spontaneous chromatid aberrations and produces significantly higher numbers of X-ray-induced chromatid aberrations after exposure during the G1 phase of the cell cycle. The line is hypomutable, with X-ray exposure inducing only one-third as many 6-thioguanine-resistant colonies as the parental line.