We have employed an irradiation and fusion procedure to generate somatic cell hybrids containing various fragments of the short arm of human chromosome 12 using a 12p-only hybrid (M28) as starting material. For the initial identification of hybrids retaining human DNA, nonradioactive in situ hybridization was performed. Seventeen cell lines appeared to contain detectable amounts of human material. Detailed characterization of these hybrids by Southern blot analysis and chromosomal in situ suppression hybridization (chromosome painting), using hybrid DNAs as probes after Alu element-mediated PCR, resulted in a hybrid panel encompassing the entire chromosome 12p arm. This panel will provide a valuable resource for the rapid isolation of region-specific DNA markers. In addition, this panel may be useful for the characterization of chromosome 12 aberrations in, e.g., human germ cell tumors.