The distribution of core histone acetylation across the chicken beta-globin locus has been mapped in 15 day chicken embryo erythrocytes by immunoprecipitation of mononucleosomes with an antibody recognizing acetylated histones, followed by hybridization probing at several points in the locus. A continuum of acetylation was observed, covering both genes and intergenic regions. Using the same probes, the generalized sensitivity to DNase I was mapped by monitoring the disappearance of intact genomic restriction fragments from Southern transfers. Close correspondence between the 33 kb of sensitive chromatin and the extent of acetylation indicates that one role of the modification could be the generation and/or maintenance of the open conformation. The precision of acetylation mapping makes it a possible approach to the definition of chromosomal domain boundaries.