The relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of 252Cf neutrons was determined for two different types of somatic mutations, i.e., loss heterozygosity for wing-hair mutations and reversion of the mutant white-ivory eye-color, in Drosophila melanogaster. Loss of heterozygosity for wing-hair mutations results predominantly from mitotic crossing over induced in wing anlage cells of larvae, while the reverse mutation of eye color is due to an intragenic structural change in the white locus on the X-chromosome. For a quantitative comparison of RBE values for these events, we have constructed a combined mutation assay system so that induced mutant wing-hair clones as well as revertant eye-color clones can be detected simultaneously in the same individuals. Larvae were irradiated at the age of 80 +/- 4 h post-oviposition with 252Cf neutrons or 137Cs gamma-rays, and male adult flies were examined under the microscope for the presence of the two types of clonal mosaic spots appearing. The induction of wing-hair spots per dose unit was much greater for 252Cf neutrons than for 137Cs gamma-rays, whereas the frequencies of eye-color reversion were similar for neutrons and gamma-rays. The estimated RBE values of neutrons were 8.5 and 1.2 for the induction of mutant wing-hair spots and revertant eye-color spots, respectively. These results indicate that the RBE of neutrons is much greater for mitotic crossing over in comparison to the intragenic white-ivory reversion events. Possible causes for the difference in RBE are discussed.