An optically stable, novel class of fluorophores (quantum dots) for in situ hybridisation analysis was tested to investigate their signal stability and intensity in plant chromosome analyses. Detection of hybridisation sites in situ was based on fluorescence from streptavidin-linked inorganic crystals of cadmium selenide. Comparison of quantum dots (QDs) with conventional detection systems (Alexa 488) in immunolabeling experiments demonstrated greater sensitivity than the conventional system. In contrast, detection of QDs in in situ hybridisation of several plant chromosomes, using several high-copy sequences, was less sensitve than Alexa 488. Thus, semiconductor nanocrystal fluorophores are more suitable for immunostaining but not for in situ hybridisation of plant chromosomes.