A new DNA hybridization technique, based on chromatographic migration of DNA on a nitrocellulose strip passing through an immobilized probe area, is described. The new paper chromatography hybridization assay (PACHA) is faster and simpler to use than the conventional dot hybridization assay. In this assay, an aliquot of biotinylated, PCR-amplified target DNA is applied to one end of a nitrocellulose strip. The DNA migrates to the opposite end of the strip by capillary forces and hybridizes to a specific DNA probe immobilized in a reaction zone (RZ), located in the middle of the strip. Unhybridized DNA migrates away from the RZ. The biotinylated hybrid is visualized by a color reaction employing a streptavidin-alkaline phosphatase (SA-AP) conjugate and a specific chromogenic substrate. The new PACHA technique allows for detection of as little as 1-5 pg of specific human papilloma virus 16 (HPV16) DNA in 25 min of hybridization. In this system, the hybridization efficiency is controlled by the flow velocity of the hybridization solution (HS) and by the volume of the amplified labeled DNA migrating across the immobilized probe. Glycerol (30%) or polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) (1%) reduces the flow rate by a factor of 2.5-3 and increases the sensitivity of the assay by a factor of 5.2 for glycerol and 2.6 for PVP. This novel method ensures efficient hybridization to multiple probes and appears to be superior to currently available solid-phase hybridization techniques.