The kinetics of uptake, retention, and radiotoxicity of 125IUdR have been studied in proliferating mammalian cells in culture. The radioactivity incorporated into the DNA is directly proportional to the duration of incubation and to the extracellular concentration of 125I. The rate of proliferation of cells is related to the intracellular radioactive concentration and is markedly reduced at medium concentrations greater than or equal to 0.1 mu Ci/ml. At 37% survival the high LET type cell survival curve is characterized by an uptake of 0.035 pCi/cell, and the cumulated mean lethal dose to the cell nucleus is about 80 rad compared to 580 rad of X-ray dose for this cell line. The strong cytocidal effects of the decay of 125I correlate with localized irradiation of the DNA by the low energy Auger electrons.