Bone marrow transplantation for severe idiopathic aplastic anemia was undertaken in a patient, using his monozygotic twin brother as the donor. In spite of the use of syngeneic bone marrow, failure of engraftment occurred on two occasions. In vitro studies demonstrated that natural killer (NK) cells from the recipient markedly inhibited the growth of donor bone marrow granulocyte progenitor cells. On a third attempt, successful bone marrow engraftment was achieved following high-dose cyclophosphamide, which has previously been shown to be inhibitory to NK cells. We conclude that NK cell activity may play an important role in bone marrow failure as well as being responsible for at least some cases of aplastic anemia.