In the allotetraploid, Festuca pratensis Huds. (2n = 4x = 28) £ Lolium perenne L. (2n = 4x = 28) the balance of chromatin, as determined by GISH, changes over successive generations of open pollination in favour of L. perenne. There is extensive recombination between chromosomes of the two parental genomes, as well as substitution of whole Festuca chromosomes by whole Lolium chromosomes. The total number of Lolium chromosomes increased from a mean 14.36 in the F2 to 16.26 in the F6, and the total number of Festuca chromosomes decreased correspondingly from a mean of 13.57 to a value of 11.56. The number of recombinant chromosomes and recombination breakpoints per genotype also increased from generation to generation, although the respective values of both characters were higher for Festuca (0.86–8.41 and 1.14–15.22) than for Lolium (0.68–4.59 and 0.68–6.0). The proportion of total genome length contributed by the L. perenne chromatin increased from about 50% in F2 to 59.5% in F6. The results are based on the sample of 134 plants studied (26–28 plants per generation), and are discussed in terms of the dominance of Lolium chromosomes over those of Festuca, and possible mechanisms underlying this phenomenon of chromatin substitution.