The isolation of carbohydrate variants from cultures of HeLa and conjunctival cells was described. Factors inherent in the cell culture system, such as parent populations and dialyzed serums, have been shown to influence the outcome of variant isolations. Established stable variants incorporated significantly more pentoses or lactate into various cell fractions than the parent cultures. Besides their abilities to propagate continuously in the selecting environments, the variants multiplied slower, were more susceptible to sub-zero preservation and the cytotoxic effect of D-2-deoxyglucose, showed lower cloning efficiencies and were less susceptible to the deleterious effect of glucose oxidase.
The ribose variants also differed from the parent cultures in morphological appearance such as formation of multinucleated cells and ring-shaped colonies. They converted more ribose into other component sugars of mucopolysaccharides than the parent cultures. Preliminary analyses of the mucopolysaccharides extracted from the ribose variants and parent cultures showed large difference in their carbohydrate (Molisch-positive materials) and DNA ratios. Evidence suggests that a sequence of interrelated events from genetic selection to primitive morphogenesis has been established.