We have analysed a family of highly repetitive DNA from Arabidopsis arenosa (L.) Lawalrée [syn. Cardaminopsis arenosa (L.) Hayck] composed of AT-rich tandem repeats of 166-179 bp in head to tail organization. Sequence comparison between several repeat units revealed a high level of divergence of 4.5% to 25%. The sequence family shows more than 58% homology to satellite sequences described in Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. but no homology to other satellite repeats in the Cruciferae. Within the genus Arabidopsis the satellite sequence was found to be present in A. thaliana and Arabidopsis suecica (Fries) Norrlin, but not in Arabidopsis griffithiana (Boiss.) N. Busch and Arabidopsis pumila (Stephan) N. Busch. In situ hybridization to metaphase chromosomes of A. arenosa (2n = 4x = 32) showed the sequence to be localized at the centromeres of all 32 chromosomes with substantial hybridization along the chromosome arms. Using Southern hybridization and in situ hybridization, we give evidence that A. suecica is a hybrid of A. thaliana and A. arenosa. A considerable reorganization of the A. thaliana satellite sequence pAL1 occurred in the hybrid genome while no molecular change of the A. arenosa repeat was observed in the hybrid. Analysis of related repeats enabled differentiation between closely related genomes and are useful for the investigation of hybrid genomes.