At meiotic prophase, chromatin loops around a proteinaceous core, with the sizes of these loops varying between species. Comparison of the morphology of sequence-related inserts at different sites in transgenic mice demonstrates that loop size also varies with chromosomal geography. Similarly, chromatin loop lengths differ dramatically for interstitially and terminally located hamster telomeric sequences. Sequences, telomeric or otherwise, located at chromosome termini, closely associate with the meiotic proteinaceous core, forming shorter loops than identical interstitial sequences. Thus, we present evidence that different chromatin packaging mechanisms exist for interstitial versus terminal chromosomal regions, which act separately from those operating at the level of the DNA sequence. Chromosomal position plays the dominant role in chromatin packaging.