We reported previously that the homologous recombinational repair (HRR)-deficient Chinese hamster mutant cell line irs3 (deficient in the Rad51 paralog Rad51C) showed only a 50% spontaneous frequency of sister chromatid exchange (SCE) as compared to parental wild-type V79 cells. Furthermore, when irradiated with very low doses of alpha particles, SCEs were not induced in irs3 cells, as compared to a prominent bystander effect observed in V79 cells [H. Nagasawa, Y. Peng, P.F. Wilson, Y.C. Lio, D.J. Chen, J.S. Bedford, J.B. Little, Role of homologous recombination in the alpha-particle-induced bystander effect for sister chromatid exchanges and chromosomal aberrations, Radiat. Res. 164 (2005) 141-147]. In the present study, we examined additional Chinese hamster cell lines deficient in the Rad51 paralogs Rad51C, Rad51D, Xrcc2, and Xrcc3 as well as another essential HRR protein, Brca2. Spontaneous SCE frequencies in non-irradiated wild-type cell lines CHO, AA8 and V79 were 0.33SCE/chromosome, whereas two Rad51C-deficient cell lines showed only 0.16SCE/chromosome. Spontaneous SCE frequencies in cell lines defective in Rad51D, Xrcc2, Xrcc3, and Brca2 ranged from 0.23 to 0.33SCE/chromosome, 0-30% lower than wild-type cells. SCEs were induced significantly 20-50% above spontaneous levels in wild-type cells exposed to a mean dose of 1.3mGy of alpha particles (<1% of nuclei traversed by an alpha particle). However, induction of SCEs above spontaneous levels was minimal or absent after alpha-particle irradiation in all of the HRR-deficient cell lines. These data suggest that Brca2 and the Rad51 paralogs contribute to DNA damage repair processes induced in bystander cells (presumably oxidative damage repair in S-phase cells) following irradiation with very low doses of alpha particles.