Chromosomal location of the 5S ribosomal RNA gene was studied in the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica Gmelin, using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Metaphase chromosomes were obtained from early embryos, and the FISH probe was made by PCR (polymerase chain reaction) amplification of the 5S rRNA gene and labeled by incorporation of digoxigenin-11-dUTP during PCR. Hybridization was detected with fluorescein-labeled anti-digoxigenin antibodies. Two pairs of FISH signals were observed on metaphase chromosomes. Karyotypic analysis showed that the 5S rRNA gene cluster is interstitially located on short arms of chromosomes 5 and 6. On chromosome 5, the 5S rRNA genes were located immediately next to the centromere, while on chomosome 6, they were located approximately half way between the telomere and the centromere. Chromosomes of C. virginica are difficult to identify because of their similarities in size and arm ratio, and the chromosomal location of 5S rRNA genes provides unambiguous identification of chromosomes 5 and 6. Previous studies have mapped the major rRNA gene cluster (18S-5.8S-28S) to chromosome 2, and this study shows that the 5S rRNA gene cluster is not linked to the major rRNA genes and duplicated during evolution.