Certain environmental contaminants found in marine mammals have been shown to cause DNA damage and cancer. The micronuclei (MN), sister chromatid exchange (SCE) and/or chromosome aberration (CA) assays were used to assess baseline (spontaneous) levels of DNA damage in blood lymphocytes of individuals of the relatively healthy and lightly contaminated Arctic beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas), Sarasota Bay, FL, bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and Northwestern Atlantic grey (Halichoerus grypus) and harp (Phoca groenlandicus) seal populations. MN cell (MNC) frequencies ranged between 2 and 14/1000 binucleated (BN) cells and were statistically similar between species. In bottlenose dolphins, MNC frequency was correlated with age and was significantly higher in females than in males. No intraspecific variation in MNC frequency was found in beluga whales. Intraspecific variation was not tested in seals due to the small sample size. Frequencies of SCEs and total CAs, excluding gaps, ranged, respectively, between 1 and 15 SCE(s)/per cell and 4-6 CAs/100 cells in beluga whales. SCE and CA frequencies did not vary with age or sex in beluga whales. The MN, SCE and CA assays were found to be practical tools for the detection of DNA damage in marine mammals and could be used in the future to compare DNA damage between relatively lightly and highly contaminated populations.