Restriction on cytolytic T lymphocyte (CTL)-target cell-interactions are studied in the primate S. oedipus, a naturally occurring A + B----A bone marrow-chimeric species. We show that the T cell, B cell, and myelomonocytic progenitor cell populations are chimeric in this species. We selected animals for study that are populated by fully major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-disparate hematopoietic cell populations, using a functional assay system. We then developed an in vitro system for analyzing at the clonal level the genetic restrictions on the trinitrophenyl-specific CTL-target cell interactions of this species. In this system, we have shown that tolerance to foreign MHC determinants was not, of itself, sufficient to facilitate the generation of CTL specific for target cells expressing those foreign MHC determinants. Rather, a marked preference for the expansion of CTL clones with a restriction for target cells bearing the host animals' MHC determinants was seen. Hematopoietically derived cells did not affect the repertoire of these T lymphocytes. These studies represent the first demonstration of the phenomenon of an environment dictating interactional restrictions on CTL in a naturally occurring bone marrow-chimeric animal. This is also the first demonstration of the profound influence of the environment on the repertoire of the T lymphocyte in a primate species.