Fluorescent in situ hybridization was used to localize the adenylate deaminase 2 (AMPD2) genes and flanking sequences on the chromosomes of the Chinese hamster line GMA32 and to study the distribution of additional copies of these genetic sequences in amplified mutants selected at several early stages of the amplification process. The synteny of AMPD2 genes and MDR1 genes, located on chromosomes 1, was demonstrated; in GMA32 the existence of a rearrangement positioning the two AMPD2 genes at different distances from the telomeres was disclosed. Using this structural marker, we showed that the amplified copies distribute along only one of the chromosomes 1. Their organization in different cells of clonal mutant populations at a very early stage of amplification was extremely heterogeneous; classes of organization could be recognized however. Their quantitative distribution at this stage and in cells which went through 10 more division cycles suggests an evolution pathway common to the mutant clones under study: as a rule, tandems of few units of identical and very large size (47 Mb) appear to be the first detected product of amplification; this organization is progressively overtaken by structures with more units of reduced and irregular size, while, in a growing number of cells, clusters of much shorter units can be observed. The nature of segregative amplification mechanisms operating in these processes and the possible involvement of replicative ones are discussed.