The understanding of structure and function of the so-called fertility genes of Drosophila is very limited due to their unusual size--several megabases--and their location on the heterochromatic Y chromosome. Since mapping of these genes has mainly been done by classical cytogenetic analyses using a small number of cytologically visible lampbrush loops as the sole markers for particular fertility genes, the resolution of the genetic map of the Y chromosome is restricted to 3-5 Mb. Here we demonstrate that a substantially finer subdivision of the megabase-sized fertility genes in the subtelomeric regions of the Y chromosome of Drosophila hydei can be achieved by a combination of digestion with restriction enzymes having 6 bp recognition sequences, and pulsed field gel electrophoresis. The physical subdivision is based upon large conserved fragments of repetitive DNA in the size range from 50 up to 1600 kb and refers to the long-range organization of several families of repetitive DNA involved in Y chromosomal transcription processes in primary spermatocytes. We conclude from our results that at least five different families of repetitive DNA specifically transcribed on the lampbrush loops nooses and threads are organized as extended clusters of several hundred kb, essentially free of interspersed non-repetitive sequences.