Abstract A comparative study of macronuclear DNA molecules from the following Paramecium species: the P. aurelia complex, P. caudatum, P. bursaria, P. putrinum and P. multimicronucleatum was performed using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. The electrophoretic pattern was constant and unique for each species, and is referred to herein as its electrokaryotype. Large differences were observed between Paramecium species according to the range and major size of macronuclear DNA fragments, while different strains of the same species, even belonging to different syngens, were characterized by the same electrokaryotype. In this respect sibling species from the P. aurelia complex are as similar as syngens in other Paramecium species, but are unlike conventional species. The principles and value of electrokaryotype analysis for application to ciliates are discussed.