The authors examined 18 cervical intraepithelial neoplasms (CIN) for the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA sequences by Southern blot hybridization and DNA-DNA in situ hybridizations for HPV DNA sequences and compared the epithelial distribution of HPV 16 DNA sequences with HPV 6/11 sequences in selected condylomas. Fifteen of the 18 CIN lesions contained HPV 16 DNA as determined by Southern blot hybridization. With the use of biotinylated HPV 16 DNA probes, 10 of the 18 were positive by in situ hybridization, 9 of which were also positive by Southern blot hybridization. In situ hybridization to HPV 16 probes was found primarily in areas of CIN which contained either maturation or koilocytotic atypia, although in two cases hybridizing sequences were detected in superficial cells from epithelium with no discernible maturation. Staining in both condylomas and CIN lesions varied in distribution and intensity. However, in some CIN lesions staining from cell to cell varied considerably. This greater variability in staining appeared to correlate with greater morphologic variations which characterize CIN, and which may influence greater variation in HPV DNA replication. Thus, some differences in patterns of hybridization for HPV DNA between CIN and condylomas may be explained by morphologic differences in the two classes of lesions. Differences in viral gene expression between condylomas and CIN and their relationship to morphologic findings remain to be clarified.