Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells have frequently been used in biotechnology for many years as a mammalian host cell platform for cloning and expressing genes of interest. A detailed physical chromosomal map of the CHO DG44 cell line was constructed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) imaging using randomly selected 303 BAC clones as hybridization probes (BAC-FISH). The two longest chromosomes were completely paired chromosomes; other chromosomes were partly deleted or rearranged. The end sequences of 624 BAC clones, including 287 mapped BAC clones, were analyzed and 1,119 informative BAC end sequences were obtained. Among 303 mapped BAC clones, 185 clones were used for BAC-FISH analysis of CHO K1 chromosomes and 94 clones for primary Chinese hamster lung cells. Based on this constructed physical map and end sequences, the chromosome rearrangements between CHO DG44, CHO K1, and primary Chinese hamster cells were investigated. Among 20 CHO chromosomes, eight were conserved without large rearrangement in CHO DG44, CHO K1, and primary Chinese hamster cells. This result suggested that these chromosomes were stable and essential in CHO cells and supposedly conserved in other CHO cell lines. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2012; 109:1357–1367. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.