A fraction of rat-liver chromatin that is transcriptionally active in vivo has been purified 6- to 7-fold over whole chromatin. This was accomplished by selectively shearing chromatin with DNase II followed by fractionating the released portion on the basis of its solubility properties in 2 mM MgCl(2). The resulting soluble material comprises 11% of the total chromatin DNA and is impoverished in histone and enriched in nonhistone protein. Compared with unsheared chromatin, this minor fraction exhibits marked differences in chromosomal protein species. DNA renaturation studies indicate that this fraction is composed of a specific subset of whole genomal DNA sequences. Furthermore, DNA.RNA hybridization experiments suggest that almost 60% of the nonrepetitious DNA sequences of this minor fraction could code for cellular RNA.