The composition and gene arrangement of the CTX genetic element were compared in 36 Vibrio cholerae isolates obtained during 2004–2006 from Iran. Long-PCR amplification of the CTX genetic element, using primers targeting ig1 and attB2, revealed three PCR products of c. 6.9, 5.6 and 2.6 kb, respectively. Southern blot hybridisation revealed that 30%, 17% and 53% of the isolates had one, two and three copies of the zot gene, respectively. PCR analysis of internal regions showed that isolates with three copies of the CTX genetic element carried one complete (6.9 kb) and two truncated CTX elements (each of 5.6 kb). In contrast, isolates with one or two copies of CTX carried the complete 6.9-kb CTX element. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis revealed two pulsotypes among the isolates, with 75% of the isolates belonging to pulsotype 2. The pulsotype 2 isolates had varying CTX genomic arrangements, whereas the pulsotype 1 isolates had a homogeneous CTX arrangement. Thus, variations in the content, arrangement and copy number of the CTX genetic element may occur in isolates belonging to the same clone.