The virus-induced papillomas of cottontail as well as domestic rabbits regress completely within a few weeks when exposed to 5,000 r of x-ray irradiation. The x-rays do not immediately kill the papilloma cells, but lead to death by inhibiting cellular division and producing pathological changes in the cells which then continue to differentiate. The virus associated with the growths, however, not only persists in undiminished amount during regression, but often an increased yield of it can be obtained on extraction.
The fibroma virus in crude extracts or in vivo is inactivated by far less irradiation than the papilloma virus. 10,000 r destroys 90 per cent or more of the infectivity of the fibroma virus, whereas at least 100,000 r is required to inactivate 50 per cent of the papilloma virus in extracts containing about the same amount of protein.
No variant of the papilloma virus or fibroma virus has been encountered as a result of the irradiation.