We have identified and characterized 40 DNA probes detecting restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) on human chromosome 4. Single copy human clones were isolated from a bacteriophage library enriched for chromosome 4 sequences. Each clone was hybridized to somatic cell hybrid DNAs for verification of its species and chromosomal origin and for regional localization. Sequences specific for chromosome 4 were tested for their ability to detect RFLPs in human DNA and their potential utility as genetic markers was assessed. Approximately 263,000 base pairs or 0.13% of the chromosome was screened for sequence variation. The estimate of heterozygosity calculated from this large body of data, H = 0.0021, indicates that the degree of sequence variation on chromosome 4 is comparable to other autosomes. The characterization of these 40 markers has tripled the number of polymorphic loci available for linkage studies on chromosome 4, making it feasible to begin construction of a detailed linkage map that will span the entire chromosome.