The dominant male sex determiner in chromosome III of the midge Chironomus thummi thummi is closely linked to a large cluster of tandem-repetitive DNA elements, the Cla elements, which are otherwise highly repetitive and distributed over more than 200 sites on all chromosomes. Chromosome III displays a hemizygous cluster of Cla elements in males but not in females. The chromosomal location of this hemizygous Cla element cluster is in the region of the male determiner M as localized by cytogenetic analysis. With Cla elements as hybridization probe, it was possible to clone a large part of the sex determining region. Molecular analysis of the DNA of males and females in this region displayed a number of differences between the two sexes. One striking difference is an unusual transposable element associated with the male sex determining region. The sex determining region also contains several other tandem-repetitive DNA elements in addition to the Cla elements. They are interspersed with single copy DNA. The accumulation of repetitive elements in the sex determining region interpreted as the result of a lack of recombination between the male/female heteromorphic region, although recombination in the other sections of chromosome III occurs.