The in vitro incubation of lymphoid cells in RIL 2 results in the generation of LAK cells that are broadly lytic to autologous, syngeneic, and allogeneic fresh tumor cells, but which do not lyse fresh, normal cells. Strains of mice with congenital immunodeficiencies were tested both for the presence of NK cells and for their capacity to generate LAK cells after in vitro incubation with IL 2. Splenocytes obtained from two immunodeficient mouse strains (NIH-Beige-Nude and NIH-Beige-Nude-XID) failed to generate LAK cells, but displayed significant activity. Splenocytes from another immunodeficient mouse strain (NIH-Beige-XID) generated LAK cells but did not display NK cell activity. This dissociation of activation of LAK cells from NK cells among the immunodeficient strains indicates that the LAK and NK cell lytic systems are distinct.