Hypervariability at minisatellite loci is maintained by spontaneous mutation to new-length alleles. At the most variable loci, mutation rate is directly measurable by pedigree analysis. The mouse minisatellite locus Ms6-hm has a germline mutation rate of 2.5% per gamete and is therefore one of the most unstable loci yet identified in the mouse genome. Mutation events at this locus also occur during early mouse development, resulting in mice mosaic for cells carrying a common non-parental allele in different somatic tissues and the germline. The DNA sequence flanking Ms6-hm is rich in dispersed repetitive elements; the minisatellite array has expanded from within a member of the Mouse Transcript family which is flanked by two additional Mouse Transcript elements, and a B2 element lies further 3' to the minisatellite. To define the characteristics of mutation events at Ms6-hm we have analysed 19 germline and 13 somatic length-change events. Germline mutation events at Ms6-hm are not accompanied by the exchange of flanking markers in three informative mutant alleles analysed.