Purpose: To investigate the in vitro dose-response for 60Co irradiated human lymphocytes assayed by FISH, and to consider how this may be applied to retrospective dosimetry. Method: Blood was irradiated with doses in the range 0.25-4.0 Gy. Cultured lymphocytes were scored for all stable and unstable aberrations involving painted chromosomes 2, 3 and 5 and, in addition, all unstable aberrations in the counterstained chromosomes. A pancentromeric probe was included. Results: The relative numbers of painted and full genome dicentrics agreed well with the Lucas hypothesis for calculating genome equivalence. The involvement of each painted chromosome in exchanges agreed with their relative arm lengths. The dose-response relationship fitted well to the linear quadratic model; Y = (0.9 x 10-2)D + (6.5 x 10-2)D2 where D is the dose in Gy for the incidence Y, of all one plus two-way translocations in all cells corrected for genome equivalence. Complex rearrangements also became more frequent with increasing dose. A correlation was noted between the distributions of dicentrics and translocations among the cells and this was entirely due to complexes. Conclusions: For retrospective dosimetry it is recommended to use an in vitro dose-response for apparently simple translocations in stable (C(s)) cells. To date, acute linear yield coefficients from FISH data carry statistical uncertainties too large for useful application to retrospective dosimetry of persons exposed to chronic or low doses. As an interim measure it is suggested that one may derive a linear term from full genome dicentrics corrected by a factor representing the translocation to dicentric ratio.