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C-banding and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) document the distribution of constitutive heterochromatin and six highly repeated DNA families (MSAT2570, MSAT21, MSAT160, MS2, MS4 and STR47) in the chromosomes of nine species of Microtus (M. chrotorrhinus, M. rossiaemeridionalis, M. arvalis, M. ilaeus, M. transcaspicus, M. cabrerae, M. pennsylvanicus, M. miurus and M. ochrogaster). Autosomal heterochromatin is largely centromeric and contains different repeated families in different species. Similarly, large C-band positive blocks on the sex chromosomes of four species contain different repeated DNAs. This interspecific variation in the chromosomal distribution and copy number of the repeats suggests that a common ancestor to modern species contained most of the repetitive families, and that descendant species selectively amplified or deleted different repeats on different chromosomes.