In bone marrow transplantation (BMT) the detection of residual host lymphoid or haematopoietic cells surviving conditioning therapy is because of its association to graft-versus-host disease, graft-versus-leukemia reaction, and relapse of leukemia a matter of great interest. We studied the occurrence of this mixed lymphoid chimerism (MC) in the formol-fixed lymphatic tissue of lymph nodes and spleen from 21 autopsies after allogeneic sex-mismatched BMT (5 females, 16 males, survival 5 to 1140 days after BMT). In situ hybridisation with biotinylated centromer-specific anti-X- and anti-Y-chromosome probes was performed on pepsin-digested paraffin sections. The number of double X-, single X-, and Y-chromosome bearing cells was analysed microscopically. Because of artefacts only 14 cases remained for valid investigation. MC was detected in 6 cases (5 out of 11 males 5 days to 840 days and 1 out of 3 females 76 days after BMT). MC occurred after whole body irradiation with 10 Gy (n = 5) and 7 Gy (n = 1). In 1 autopsy relapse of leukemia caused host cell infiltration. Cases with MC did not express histological signs of acute or chronic graft-versus-host disease, but 5 out of 8 with complete lymphoid chimerism did. The sensitivity of interphase cytogenetics on paraffin embedded tissue is low.