The cytological structure of the X chromosome and the DNA organisation of the singed locus were examined in five singed bristle mutants of Drosophila melanogaster. These mutants are all derived from the unstable mutant singed-49, isolated from a wild population in the Russian Far East in 1975. Rearrangements were found at a site within the first intron of the singed gene, where a hobo element is inserted in these mutants. One rearrangement, which is associated with a strong bristle phenotype, has an inversion between 2D and the location of singed at 7D, which separates the singed promoter from the singed coding region. Two phenotypically wild-type derivatives have smaller rearrangements within the first intron which do not appear to interfere with singed expression. Two derivatives with bristle phenotypes have more complex rearrangements, and one of them shows a dominant or antimorphic phenotype. DNA blotting and in situ hybridisation experiments show that, in addition to these rearrangements at a hobo element inserted at singed, other hobo elements in these strains have been mobilised. This system is therefore similar to others in which functional hobo elements continue to transpose, resulting in elevated rates of mutation and chromosome rearrangement.