Cloned maize genes and random maize genomic fragments were used to construct a genetic map of sorghum and to compare the structure of the maize and sorghum genomes. Most (266/280) of the maize DNA fragments hybridized to sorghum DNA and 145 of them detected polymorphisms. The segregation of 111 markers was analyzed in 55 F2 progeny. A genetic map was generated with 96 loci arranged in 15 linkage groups spanning 709 map units. Comparative genetic mapping of sorghum and maize is complicated by the fact that many loci are duplicated, often making the identification of orthologous sequences ambiguous. Relative map positions of probes which detect only a single locus in both species indicated that multiple rearrangements have occurred since their divergence, but that many chromosomal segments have conserved synteny. Some sorghum linkage groups were found to be composed of sequences that detect loci on two different maize chromosomes. The two maize chromosomes to which these loci mapped were generally those which commonly share duplicated sequences. Evolutionary models and implications are discussed.