A chromosome polymorphism was detected between two early passage euploid Chinese hamster cell strains when a fluorescence shift of the small metacentric No. 9 chromosome was resolved by flow cytometry. The characteristics of the polymorphism were studied using cultures established from ear clippings taken from 16 additional hamsters from our breeding colony. Additional variants of chromosome 9 were detected using flow cytometry, and a subset of these variants were analyzed by G- and C-banding. An increase of fluorescence recorded by flow cytometry correlated with an increase of centromeric heterochromatin. Autosomal normalization of the flow karyotype from 18 different animals indicated three distinct peak positions for chromosome 9. The results indicate that a discrete block of constitutive heterochromatin may be present in one or two extra copies within the small inbred colony of hamsters studied. To determine the inheritance patterns, hamsters with known polymorphic No. 9 chromosomes were bred. The flow karyotypes derived from the offspring of these matings provide strong evidence that chromosomal polymorphisms are inherited in Mendelian fashion.