The trypsin-Giemsa banding procedure was adapted so that chromosomes could be observed through the microscope during treatment and staining. Trypsin treatment resulted only in a swelling of the chromatids. Chromosome bands which appear as raised structures with interference contrast optics emerged only after staining with Giemsa. These structures remain after Giemsa destaining, suggesting that an irreversable change in chromosome structure is induced by Giemsa. Observations of the stain flow indicate that the positioning of the chromosomes has an effect on the quality of band production. These studies also revealed that bands appear in a reproducible sequence on individual chromosomes, which suggests that alterations take place at different rates along the length of the chromosomes. © 1975 Springer-Verlag.