We report the construction of an RFLP genetic map of rice (Oryza sativa) chromosomes. The map is comprised of 135 loci corresponding to clones selected from a PstI genomic library. This molecular map covers 1,389 cM of the rice genome and exceeds the current classical maps by more than 20%. The map was generated from F2 segregation data (50 individuals) from a cross between an indica and javanica rice cultivar. Primary trisomics were used to assign linkage groups to each of the 12 rice chromosomes. Seventy-eight percent of the clones assayed revealed RFLPs between the two parental cultivars, indicating that rice contains a significant amount of RFLP variation. Strong correlations between size of hybridizing restriction fragments and level of polymorphism indicate that a significant proportion of the RFLPs in rice are generated by insertions/delections. This conclusion is supported by the occurrence of null alleles for some clones (presumably created by insertion or deletion events). One clone, RG229, hybridized to sequences in both the indica and javanica genomes, which have apparently transposed since the divergence of the two cultivars from their last common ancestor, providing evidence for sequence movement in rice. As a by product of this mapping project, we have discovered that rice DNA is less C-methylated than tomato or maize DNA. Our results also suggest the notion that a large fraction of the rice genome (approximately 50%) is single copy.