Using the method of filter elution of double stranded DNA under neutral conditions we have shown that most of gamma-ray induced double strand breaks (DSB) are rejoined in both mammalian and bacterial cells. Rejoining also occurs in the G1 phase in V79 Chinese hamster cells and under different growth conditions. Within 8 minutes at 37 C, half the breaks are rejoined. The rejoining in E. coli is equally fast and depends on the presence of DNA ligase. Some of the breaks in E. coli rejoin slowly, and these require rec+. The non-rejoined DSB are distributed over the DNA without any preference for the nucleosomal or the linker structure in the chromosome. Two kinds of DSB rejoining are discriminated, a fast process of DNA ligation and a slower process involving rec functions.