Autosomal chromosome abnormalities are far from always detectable and, when detected, far from fully consistent in malignant gliomas. In 15 of 41 malignant gliomas, we found autosomal chromosome aberrations ranging from solitary trisomy to a wildly abnormal polyploid complement. The sequence of chromosome events appears to proceed from the normal to the near-diploid state (via structural and numerical changes) to near-tetraploidy (via polyploidization), and finally toward near-triploidy (via chromosome loss and additional rearrangements). Characteristic chromosome changes of trisomy 7 and monosomy 10 were repeatedly found, usually together in the same cell clones. In only one case was trisomy 7 an isolated change. We observed structural rearrangements of chromosomes 7 and 10 which may be of some use in mapping specific genes duplicated or deleted by the whole-chromosome changes of chromosomes 7 and 10. Nonrandom structural changes of other autosomes, including chromosomes 1, 5, and 11, fit with the model of malignant glioma as a process involving multiple genes. An unusual concentration of breakpoints in 12q13, juxtaposing it to at least five other regions, reflects the presence of genetic information in 12q13 important to the development of malignant gliomas.