Chromosome walking has been used to study the organization of the class I genes in the D and Qa regions of the MHC of the BALB/c mouse and in the D region of the AKR mouse. Five and eight class I genes are found in the D and Qa regions of the BALB/c mouse, respectively, while the AKR mouse contains only a single class I D region gene that has been identified by transfection as the Dk gene. Restriction map homologies and crosshybridization experiments suggest that the multiple class I genes in the D region of the BALB/c mouse have been generated by unequal crossing-over involving class I genes from the Qa region. The expanded D region of BALB/c and other H-2d haplotype mouse strains appears to be metastable, since evidence for gene contraction in the Dd region has been found in two mutant strains. Thus the D region and also the Qa region class I genes are in a dynamic state, evolving by gene expansion and contraction.