Abstract A comparative study on the biological responses to different mutagens (UV, 4NQO, MMC, MMS and EMS) was made on CHO wild-type cells (CHO-9), its UV-hypersensitive mutant 43-3B, and 2 types of its transferants, i.e., one containing a few copies of the human repair gene ERCC-1 and the other having more than 100 copies of ERCC-1 (due to gene amplification). Cell survival, chromosomal aberrations and SCEs were used as biological end-points. The spontaneous frequency of chromosomal aberrations in the transferants was less than found in 43-3B mutant cells, but still 2–3 times higher than in wild-type CHO cells. The spontaneous frequency of SCEs in the transferants was less than in 43-3B and similar to that of wild-type cells. The induction of SCEs by all tested agents in transferants was similar to that found in CHO-9 cells, while the mutant is known to respond with higher frequencies. ERCC-1 also bestowed resistance to MMS and EMS on the mutant to induction of chromosomal aberrations and cell killing to levels comparable with those of the wild-type strain. On the other hand ERCC-1 could not completely regain the repair proficiency against cell killing and induction of chromosomal aberrations by UV or MMC to the wild-type level. These results suggest that the ERCC-1 corrects the repair defect in CHO mutant cells, but it is unable to rectify fully the defect; probable reasons for this are discussed. However, amplified transferants (having more than 100 copies of the ERCC-1 gene) restored the impaired repair function in 43-3B to UV-, MMC- or 4NQO-induced DNA damage better than non-amplified transferants with a few copies of the ERCC-1. This difference may be due to the high amount of gene product involved in the excision repair process in the amplified cells.