The Q locus is largely responsible for the domestication of bread wheat. Q confers the free-threshing character of the spike and influences other important agronomic traits. Using chromosome deletion lines, Q was placed on the physical map within a submicroscopic segment of the long arm of chromosome 5A. We targeted markers to the segment by comparative mapping of anonymous RFLP clones, AFLP, and mRNA differential display analysis of deletion lines 5AL-7 and -23, which have deletion breakpoints that flank the Q locus. Differentially expressed sequences detected fragments at various loci on group 5 chromosomes suggesting that Q may be a regulatory gene. We identified 18 markers within the Q gene deletion interval and used them to construct a genetic linkage map of the region in F2 populations derived from chromosome 5A disomic substitution lines. The genetic map corresponding to the deletion segment was 20-cM long, and we identified markers as close as 0.7 cM to the Q gene. An estimate of base pairs per centimorgan within the region is 250 kb/cM, an 18-fold increase in recombination compared with the genomic average. Genomic targeting and high-density mapping provide a basis for the map-based cloning of the Q gene.