The relative organization of genes and repetitive DNAs in complex eukaryotic genomes is not well understood. Diagnostic sequencing indicated that a 280-kilobase region containing the maize Adh1-F and u22 genes is composed primarily of retrotransposons inserted within each other. Ten retroelement families were discovered, with reiteration frequencies ranging from 10 to 30,000 copies per haploid genome. These retrotransposons accounted for more than 60 percent of the Adh1-F region and at least 50 percent of the nuclear DNA of maize. These elements were largely intact and are dispersed throughout the gene-containing regions of the maize genome.