A review of our recent work on the cromosomal evolution of the Drosophila repleta species group is presented. Most studies have focused on the buzzatii species complex, a monophyletic set of 12 species which inhabit the deserts of South America and the West Indies. A statistical analysis of the length and breakpoint distribution of the 86 paracentric inversions observed in this complex has shown that inversion length is a selected trait. Rare inversions are usually small while evolutionary successful inversions, fixed and polymorphic, are predominantly of medium size. There is also a negative correlation between length and number of inversions per species. Finally, the distribution of inversion breakpoints along chromosome 2 is non-random, with chromosomal regions which accumulate up to 8 breakpoints (putative 'hot spots'). Comparative gene mapping has also been used to investigate the molecular organization and evolution of chromosomes. Using in situ hybridization, 26 genes have been precisely located on the salivary gland chromosomes of D. repleta and D. buzzatii; another nine have been tentatively identified. The results are fully consistent with the currently accepted chromosomal homologies between D. repleta and D. melanogaster, and no evidence for reciprocal translocations or pericentric inversions has been found. The comparison of the gene map of D. repleta chromosome 2 with that of the homologous chromosome 3R of D. melanogaster shows an extensive reorganization via paracentric inversions and allows to estimate an evolution rate of ~ 1 inversion fixed per million years for this chromosome.