Recent success in developing transcriptional maps of large genomic regions provide excellent opportunities for the investigation of mammalian genome organization. Detailed definition of organizational features will, in the short term, aid in prioritizing genomic sequencing efforts and in interpreting sequencing results and, in the long term, will surely provide insights into the structural, functional and evolutionary basis for the mammalian chromosome and chromosomal banding patterns. For such efforts, human chromosome 21 provides an excellent model system because the physical and clone maps are detailed, and several transcriptional mapping projects have provided large numbers of novel genes. It is, therefore, valuable at this point to examine these transcriptional mapping data and to compare them with the isochore model of the mammalian genome, which describes patterns in base composition and predicts gene distributions. Not only do compelling organizational patterns appear, but new questions about additional possible patterns in gene size, structure, conservation and transcription can be asked.