In the present study, F ratios for both stable chromosome aberrations, i.e. ratios of translocations to pericentric inversions, and unstable aberrations, i.e. dicentrics and centric rings, were measured using fluorescence in situ hybridization. F ratios for stable aberrations measured after exposure to low (2.89 Gy 60Co gamma rays) and high-LET (0.25 Gy 56Fe ions; 1.25 Gy 56Fe ions; 3.0 Gy 12C ions) radiation were 6.5 +/- 1.5, 4.7 +/- 1.6, 9.3 +/- 2.5 and 10.4 +/- 3.0, respectively. F ratios for unstable aberrations measured after low (2.89 Gy 60Co gamma rays) and high-LET (0.25 Gy 56Fe ions; 3.0 Gy 12C ions) radiations were 6.5 +/- 1.6, 6.3 +/- 2.3 and 11.1 +/- 3.7, respectively. No significant difference between the F ratios for low- and high-LET radiation was found. Further tests on the models for calculation of the F ratio proposed by Brenner and Sachs (Radiat. Res. 140, 134-142, 1994) showed that the F ratio may not be straightforward as a practical fingerprint for densely ionizing radiation.