Abstract Depletion of histone H1, changes in nucleosome repeat lengths, and extents of DNA elongation were investigated in synchronized Chinese hamster (line CHO) cells using the general conditions of hydroxyurea treatment that appear to increase the frequency of gene amplification, i.e., synchronized cultures of G 1 cells were allowed to begin to enter S phase before treatment with hydroxyurea was effected to retard DNA synthesis (Mariani, B.D. and Schimke, R.T. (1984) J. Biol. Chem. 259, 1901–1910). During the time that synchronized G 1 cells begin to enter S phase, there occur considerable synchrony decay and accumulation of new DNA that increase with time before treatment with hydroxyurea is initiated. During exposure to hydroxyurea, there occur depletion of histone H1 and shortened repeat lengths for the DNA synthesized in the presence of hydroxyurea. In contrast, DNA synthesized in S phase before exposure to hydroxyurea has essentially the same repeat lengths as bulk chromatin at both the time that hydroxyurea treatment is effected and after 6 h in its presence. Sedimentation measurements indicate that the early replicating DNA undergoes considerable elongation both before and during 6 h of exposure to 0.3 mM hydroxyurea. Thus, nearly all of the early replicating DNA is elongated to greater than average replicon size under those conditions of hydroxyurea treatment that appear to favor gene amplification. Because the extents of DNA synthesis and cell cycle progression vary as functions of drug concentration, treatment times, and unknown factors (from experiment to experiment), it would appear that the parameters must be carefully monitored in each experiment if biochemical results are to be related to the position of cells in the growth cycle.