The chromatin organization of the genes coding for 5S RNA in Xenopus laevis has been investigated with restriction endonucleases and micrococcal nuclease. Digestion of nuclei from liver, kidney, blood and kidney cells maintained in culture with micrococcal nuclease reveals that these Xenopus cells and tissues have shorter nucleosome repeat lengths than the corresponding cells and tissues from other higher organisms. 5S genes are organized in nucleosomes with repeat lengths similar to those of the bulk chromatin in liver (178 bp) and cultured cells (165 bp); however, 5S gene chromatin in blood cells has a shorter nucleosome repeat (176 bp) than the bulk of the genome in these cells (184 bp). From an analysis of the 5S DNA fragments produced by extensive restriction endonuclease cleavage of chromatin in situ, no special arrangement of the nucleosomes with respect to the sequence of 5S DNA can be detected. The relative abundance of 5S gene multimers follows a Kuhn distribution, with about 57% of all HindIII sites cleaved. This suggests that HindIII sites can be cleaved both in the nucleosome core and linker regions.