Cytogenetically visible interstitial duplications of proximal 15q, which lack the Prader-Willi Angelman critical region (PWACR) frequently segregate in families without phenotypic effect, but the nature of the extra euchromatin has remained unclear. We used comparative genome hybridisation to confirm that the extra material in a cytogenetic triplication originated from proximal 15q. A PAC clone containing sequences specific for the type-1 neurofibromatosis (NF-1) pseudogenes, which map to 15q11.2, hybridised along the length of the enlarged region between the PWACR and the centromere. Computerised measurement of the fluorescent signal from the enlarged and normal chromosomes gave an average ratio of 9.85:1, consistent with amplification. In a second family, an amplified P1-4 signal co-segregated with a cytogenetic duplication and the average ratio between amplified and normal signals in the proband was 8.22:1. Ratios in noncarrier family members and control individuals were close to unity in most cases, but significantly greater than one in at least one instance. Our results provide a novel explanation for cytogenetic variation in 15q11.2. They also suggest that NF-1 pseudogene copy number may be polymorphic in the normal population, and that high copy numbers can produce G bands which do not reflect those of the normal constitutional karyotype.