The original concept behind map-based or positional cloning was to find a DNA marker linked to a gene of interest, and then to 'walk' to the gene via overlapping clones (e.g. cosmids or YACs). While chromosome walking is straightforward in organisms with small genomes, it is difficult to apply in most plant species, which typically have large, complex genomes. The strategy of chromosome walking is based on the assumption that it is difficult and time consuming to find DNA markers that are physically close to a gene of interest. Recent technological developments invalidate this assumption for many species. As a result, the mapping paradigm has now changed such that one first isolates one or more DNA marker(s) at a physical distance from the targeted gene that is less than the average insert size of the genomic library being used for clone isolation. The DNA marker is then used to screen the library and isolate (or 'land' on) the clone containing the gene, without any need for chromosome walking and its associated problems. Chromosome landing, together with the technology that has made it possible, is likely to become the main strategy by which map-based cloning is applied to isolate both major genes and genes underlying quantitative traits in plant species.