Our laboratory has focused on defining, localizing, and understanding the mode of action of genes involved in fractionated x-irradiation (FXI) leukemia in susceptible and restraint mouse strains. We have described the genetic and molecular evidence suggesting the existence of multiple independent loci involved in FXI-induced leukemogenesis. These studies indicated that one of these, Ril-1, a locus on the distal portion of chromosome 15, is the major locus influencing susceptibility to the disease. Our data unequivocally place Ril-1 in the gene complex Ly-6--Ril-1--Sis--H-30--Pol-5. Ril-1 appears to be closest to Ly-6 and Sis. We report that in FXI-induced leukemias there are hypomethylation changes in the Ly-6 region as compared to normal thymocytes. In contrast, Sis was found to be hypermethylated and not expressed. In addition, we have noted DNA rearrangements in the Ly-6--Pol-5 region in the majority of tumors examined using the Ly-6 and spleen focus-forming virus (SFFLV) molecular probes. Increased expression of Ly-6 and other surface markers encoded in this region has been noted in FXI-induced thymomas.