The development of cadmium resistance in an Indian muntjac cell line has been investigated. The parent cell line is highly sensitive to cadmium ions. Resistance was obtained by continuous growth of cells in low levels of cadmium with stepwise increments. Four cell lines were developed with resistances of between 50- and 200-fold greater than that of the parental line. Early in the development of resistance an unstable cell line displaying extensive chromosomal rearrangement and an elevated sister chromatid exchange frequency was identified. The more stable resistant lines produced from this original cell line have normal karyotypes. Having passed through the initial period of genome rearrangement the resultant cells acquired several characteristics of morphologically transformed cells. It is concluded that long-term exposure to low levels of cadmium can transform cells in vitro concurrently with their acquiring cadmium resistance.

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