Ribonuclease activity in cell-free thymus homogenates was elevated for five strains of mice genetically predisposed toward leukemia or reticulum cell neoplasms (AKR, C58, PL, RF, and SJL). Such increased activity was directed against polyuridylic acid and was observed in 8-wk old mice, well before the onset of neoplastic transformation. Similarly, white blood cell ribonuclease activity was elevated in mice of the strains AKR, C2H/He, PL and RF. Statistical analysis indicated that such elevated activity in these strains related to their high incidence of spontaneous neoplastic disease. Elevated ribonuclease activity thus represents a new biochemical marker relating to the genetic propensity of some strains of mice to die prematurely of spontaneous neoplasia.

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