The hemagglutination inhibition antibody titers against the JC and BK polyoma viruses (JCV and BKV, respectively) are significantly elevated in individuals exhibiting "rogue" cells among their cultured lymphocytes. However, the elevation is so much greater with respect to JCV that the BKV elevation could readily be explained by cross reactivity to the capsid protein of these two closely related viruses. The JCV exhibits high sequence homology with the simian papovavirus, simian virus 40 (SV40), and inoculation of human fetal brain cells with JCV produces polyploidy and chromosomal damage very similar to that produced by SV40. We suggest, by analogy with the effects of SV40, that these changes are due to the action of the viral large tumor antigen, a pluripotent DNA binding protein that acts in both transcription and replication. The implications of these findings for oncogenesis are briefly discussed.