The close relationship between Brassica oleracea and Arabidopsis thaliana has been used to explore the genetic and physical collinearity of the two species, focusing on an inverted segmental chromosome duplication within linkage group O6 of B. oleracea. Genetic evidence suggests that these segments share a common origin with a region of Arabidopsis chromosome 1. Brassica oleracea and Arabidopsis bacterial artificial chromosome probes have been used for fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis of B. oleracea pachytene chromosomes to further characterize the inverted duplication. This has been highly effective in increasing the local resolution of the cytogenetic map. We have shown that the physical order of corresponding genetic markers is highly conserved between the duplicated regions in B. oleracea and the physical lengths of the regions at pachytene are similar, while the genetic distances are considerably different. The physical marker order is also well conserved between Arabidopsis and B. oleracea, with only one short inversion identified. Furthermore, the relative physical distances between the markers in one segment of B. oleracea and Arabidopsis have stayed approximately the same. The efficacy of using fluorescence in situ hybridization, together with other forms of physical and genetic mapping, for elucidating such issues relating to synteny is discussed.