This study demonstrates that Exonuclease III (Exo III) can be used to produce sufficient single-stranded (ss)DNA in chromosomes and cells to allow in situ hybridization. In this study, all of the probes were modified with biotin and the probe binding was visualized with fluorescein-labeled avidin. Exo III digestion starting at naturally occurring breaks in methanol-acetic acid preparations produced enough ssDNA for strong hybridization when human genomic DNA was used to probe human chromosomes. Pretreatment with the endonucleases EcoRI, Hind III and BamHI was used to produce more sites for initiation of Exo III digestion when using a chromosome-specific repetitive probe specific to a small chromosomal subregion near the telomere of human chromosome 1(1p36). The fluorescence intensity following hybridization to Exo III-treated targets was roughly equal to that following hybridization to thermally denatured targets, but background fluorescence was lower.