We have examined the timing of gamma-irradiation-induced death in relation to cell cycle progression using a panel of mouse lymphoid or myeloid cell lines. Death was found to occur immediately after irradiation ('rapid interphase' death), or after arrest in G2 phase ('delayed interphase' death). In part II of this series of papers we demonstrated the occurrence of radiation-induced apoptosis in all these cell lines. This suggests that different signals can lead to apoptosis in these cell lines. DNA double-strand breakage appeared to directly stimulate the destruction of cell lines susceptible to rapid interphase death, whilst the signal for delayed interphase and mitotic death, whilst the signal for delayed interphase and mitotic death appeared to be chromosomal aberrations. Several of the cell lines showed different timing of death dependent upon the radiation dose used. These differences in the timing of radiation-induced death are shown to be useful indicators of the relative radiosensitivity of haematopoietic cell lines.