We have characterized a DNA probe (49f) that detects about 15 Y-specific TaqI bands corresponding to a low-copy number sequence. Five of these bands, each representing a single DNA fragment, can either be present, absent, or variable in length. Familial segregation studies have shown that the variations of these fragments are inherited in a Mendelian fashion and strictly Y-linked. A survey of 44 male individuals indicated that the five variable TaqI fragments detected by probe 49f can be considered as five independent allelic series. Each series represents the different and mutually exclusive allelic forms observed for a single DNA fragment. A total of 16 haplotypes, each defined by a different combination of the various forms of each of these five restriction fragment length polymorphisms, were observed among the 44 scored individuals. These TaqI restriction polymorphisms are not observed with other restriction digests and have therefore been attributed to point mutations. The five polymorphic fragments map to Yq11, a region that does not recombine with the X chromosome and are therefore not redistributed. This implies that an apparently independent reassortment of one of these series with respect to the others can be explained only on the basis of mutations that occurred several times (or reverted) during evolution of the Y chromosome. However, an examination of the different combinations of two or more allelic series suggests that some alleles are not randomly distributed and raises the possibility of establishing a genealogy of the human Y chromosome.