A molecular cytogenetic map of Medicago truncatula (2n = 2x = 16) was constructed on the basis of a pachytene DAPI karyogram. Chromosomes at this meiotic prophase stage are 20 times longer than at mitotic metaphase, and display a well differentiated pattern of brightly fluorescing heterochromatin segments. We describe here a pachytene karyogram in which all chromosomes can be identified based on chromosome length, centromere position, heterochromatin patterns, and the positions of three repetitive sequences (5S rDNA, 45S rDNA and the MtR1 tandem repeat), visualized by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). We determined the correlation between genetic linkage groups and chromosomes by FISH mapping of bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones, with two to five BACs per linkage group. In the cytogenetic map, chromosomes were numbered according to their corresponding linkage groups. We determined the relative positions of the 20 BACs and three repetitive sequences on the pachytene chromosomes, and compared the genetic and cytological distances between markers. The mapping resolution was determined in a euchromatic part of chromosome 5 by comparing the cytological distances between FISH signals of clones of a BAC contig with their corresponding physical distance, and showed that resolution in this region is about 60 kb. The establishment of this FISH pachytene karyotype, with a far better mapping resolution and detection sensitivity compared to those in the highly condensed mitotic metaphase complements, has created the basis for the integration of molecular, genetic and cytogenetic maps in M. truncatula.