The primary goal of this research was to reveal de novo mutations in the liquidators (cleanup personnel) who emigrated to Israel from the Chernobyl disaster area. We used genome fingerprinting simple sequence repeat-anchored polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and random amplified polymorphic DNA PCR (RAPD PCR). The methodology involved a combination of RAPD PCR, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, and silver staining, with arbitrarily primed PCR. Use of microsatellite markers appears to be the most promising technique for high sensitivity analysis. The analysis involved DNA isolated from the blood of experimental and control subjects (involving both offspring who were born before or after the disaster and their parents). Our studies have reproducibly detected new bands that appeared in the children born after the disaster. No such bands appeared in the children born in the same family before the accident or in the children of control families who had not been exposed to radiation.