We have used the proximity of probe hybridization sites in interphase chromatin to derive the order of DNA sequences in a 2-3-Mbp region of human chromosome Xq28. The map generated bridges the results of genetic and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis mapping to produce a more complete map of Xq28 than possible with either of these other techniques alone. Two-color fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was used to detect the positions of two or more probes in G1 male interphase nuclei. We show that cosmids that are 50 kbp to 2-3 Mbp apart can be ordered rapidly with two alternative approaches: (1) by comparing the average measured distance between two probes and (2) simply by scoring the order of red and green fluorescent dots after detection of three or more probes with two fluorochromes. The validity of these approaches is demonstrated using five cosmids from a region spanning approximately 800 kbp that includes the factor VIII (F8), glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), and color-vision pigment (CV) genes. The cosmid map derived from interphase mapping is consistent with the map determined by restriction-fragment analysis. The two interphase mapping approaches were then used (1) to orient the F8/CV cluster relative to two markers, c1A1 and st14c, which we show by metaphase mapping to be proximal to the F8/CV cluster, (2) to position st14c (DXS52) between c1A1 and F8, and (3) to orient the CV gene cluster relative to G6PD by using two CV-flanking cosmids, 18b41 and fr7. The probe order in Xq28 derived from interphase proximity is cen-c1A1-st14c-5'F8 (p624-p542-p625)-G6PD-18b41-3' green-green-red-fr7-tel. We also show that, to determine their order by using metaphase chromosomes, sequences must be at least 1 Mbp apart, an order of magnitude greater than required in interphase chromatin. The data show that FISH mapping is a simple way to order sequences separated by greater than or equal to 50 kbp for the construction of long-range maps of mammalian genomes.