Two regions of Arabidopsis chromosome 4, totalling 4.7 Mb, were assayed for representation in the TAMU and IGF BAC libraries. A directed approach to BAC identification was developed. Gel-purified DNA samples of YACs selected from the YAC-based physical map of chromosome 4 were used to probe high-density colony arrays of the BAC libraries. Strategies were developed that allowed the efficient construction of restriction maps and BAC contigs. Four hundred and sixty-four BACs were mapped, assembled into two complete contigs and used to analyse genomic representation. These BACs provided a mean of 9.4-fold redundant coverage, with a range of 2- to 22-fold. The representation provided by the two libraries showed almost coincident peaks and troughs, with a periodicity of approximately 200 kb. These results demonstrate that, provided both TAMU and IGF libraries are used in their entirety, BACs should provide an excellent resource for both physical mapping and sequencing of the Arabidopsis genome.