The techniques described permit the controlled production of large numbers of proliferating somatic cell hybrids in a relatively short period of time. Sendai virus is used to promote cell hybridization. ß-propriolactone is employed as the inactivating agent of Sendai virus since it produces complete loss of viral infectivity while preserving viral fusion capacity. Cells are fused in monolayer, instead of in suspension, since fixing cells in two dimensions permits one to control cell contacts during the fusion event through the expedient of varying multiplicities of the parental cells and the total cell density. Under the conditions described, a several hundred fold increase in the number of hybrid clones obtained is seen as compared to the controls.

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