The bulk of the DNA found at human centromeres is composed of tandemly arranged repeats, the most abundant of which is alpha satellite. Other human centromeric repetitive families have been identified, one of the more recent being gamma satellite. To date, gamma satellite DNAs have been reported at the centromeres of human chromosomes 8 and X. Here, we show that gamma-X satellite DNA is not interspersed with the major DZX1 alpha-X block, but rather is organised as a single array of approximately 40-50 kb on the short-arm side of the alpha satellite domain. This repeat array is absent on two mitotically stable Xq isochromosomes. Furthermore, a related repeat DNA has been identified on the human Y chromosome. Fluorescence in situ hybridisation has localised this satellite DNA to the long arm side of the major DYZ3 alpha-Y domain, outside the region previously defined as that required for mitotic centromere function. Together, these data suggest that while blocks of highly related gamma satellite DNAs are present in the pericentromeric regions of both human sex chromosomes, this repeated DNA is not required for mitotic centromere function.