Seven DNA fragments which map to or very near human chromosome band 2p24 are shown to be differentially amplified in DNA from specific subsets of an enlarged series of human neuroblastoma cell lines and primary neuroblastomas. Of these DNA fragments, the probe NB-19-21 for the oncogene N-myc is the most frequently amplified, with a second expressed sequence (pG21) amplified in 9 of those 11 cell lines and 16 of those 25 tumors exhibiting amplification of N-myc. The remaining probes are in turn each amplified in progressively smaller, nested subsets of the cell lines and tumors in which both N-myc and pG21 are amplified. These data permit construction of models for the organization of a “neuroblastoma amplicon,” i.e., an originally amplified DNA domain, with N-myc positioned most central and the other DNA fragments increasingly peripheral; comparable models result for the cell lines and the tumors. Five of the seven probes examined detect novel DNA fragments in these specimens, reinforcing previous observations that extensive DNA rearrangement can occur during DNA amplification in neuroblastoma cell lines and in primary neuroblastomas. Such rearrangements could contribute significantly to the evolution of the neuroblastoma amplicon in different specimens to progressively smaller units, preserving, in the limit, amplification of N-myc. © 1986, American Association for Cancer Research. All rights reserved.