In the process of characterizing a rice wx deletion mutant, an AT-rich minisatellite sequence that consisted of units of approximately 80 bp was detected about 2.3 kb downstream of the wx gene. This AT-rich minisatellite was a multiple-copy element (1 x 10(3) to 2 x 10(3) copies per haploid genome) and interspersed in the rice genome. By BLAST homology search it was indicated that not only the tandem repeat but also both flanking sequences were conserved among copies. According to the characteristics of the termini (5'-CHH ... CTAG-3') and a target site preference for T, this AT-rich minisatellite accompanying the flanking sequences was classified into a novel transposon, Basho. The results of direct amplification of Basho showed that relatively large variation in size existed in the Basho family. We estimate the variation to be generated by not only alteration of the number of units in the minisatellite but also by duplications of larger blocks including the conserved flanking sequences caused by single-strand mispairing (SSM) at noncontiguous repeats. Because the AT-rich minisatellite contained in Basho possessed several motifs of the matrix attachment region (MAR) in its repeat unit, the functional role as MAR in the rice genome was discussed.