Two contrasting forms of Pennisetum belonging to the primary and tertiary gene pools were assessed for genomic organization using in situ hybridization with rDNA probes (18S-5.8S-25S and 5S) on metaphase and interphase cell nuclei. The primary gene pool is represented by diploid (2n = 2x = 14) cultivated pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) and its close wild relatives (Pennisetum violaceum and Pennisetum mollissimum). Pennisetum schweinfurthii (2n = 2x = 14) was taken as representative of the tertiary gene pool, owing to its diploid status and its similarity to the accessions of the primary gene pool in chromosome number. Using the 18S-5.8S-25S probe, we observed two sites of distribution in the four species but at different locations. Within the primary gene pool, signals were detected on the telomeric part of the short arm of chromosome pair VI and at the nucleolar organizing region (NOR) of the satellited chromosome pair (VII). Signals were observed at the NOR of the two satellited chromosome pairs (I and IV) of P. schweinfurthii. The 5S probe was detected at the telomeric part of the short arm of metacentric chromosome pair IV of the three species of the primary gene pool, while it occured in an intercalary position on the short arm of chromosome pair II of P. schweinfurthii. These results showed a chromosomal similarity of rDNA sequence locations within the primary gene pool and are in agreement with the high genetic identity between wild and cultivated forms of pearl millet previously revealed by allozyme studies. Implications of genomic organization for genetic resource enhancement are discussed. Key words : Pennisetum, in situ hybridization, rDNA probes, genomic organization.