Fluorescence spectra of ethanol-fixed rat thymocytes stained with the DNA-specific dye Hoechst 33258 have been measured in an arc lamp-based flow cytometer including a grating monochromator in front of the fluorescence detector. Spectral resolution was 5-10 nm. Increasing dye concentration was found to yield an increasing shift of the fluorescence spectrum toward longer wavelengths, thus supporting previous work on soluble DNA that indicated several different binding modes of this dye. The results show that similar data may be obtained for all commonly used DNA-specific dyes. It appears that this type of spectral information may be used to probe the structure of cell chromatin.