This study describes a comprehensive comparison of chromosome 5 of the model crucifer Arabidopsis with the genome of its amphidiploid crop relative Brassica napus and introduces the use of in silico sequence homology to identify conserved loci between the two species. A region of chromosome 5, spanning 8 Mb, was found in six highly conserved copies in the B. napus genome. A single inversion appeared to be the predominant rearrangement that had separated the two lineages leading to the formation of Arabidopsis chromosome 5 and its homologues in B. napus. The observed results could be explained by the fusion of three ancestral genomes with strong similarities to modern-day Arabidopsis to generate the constituent diploid genomes of B. napus. This supports the hypothesis that the diploid Brassica genomes evolved from a common hexaploid ancestor. Alignment of the genetic linkage map of B. napus with the genomic sequence of Arabidopsis indicated that for specific regions a genetic distance of 1 cM in B. napus was equivalent to 285 Kb of Arabidopsis DNA sequence. This analysis strongly supports the application of Arabidopsis as a tool in marker development, map-based gene cloning, and candidate gene identification for the larger genomes of Brassica crop species.