The meiotic lampbrush chromosomes of amphibian oocytes display readily distinguishable regions of transcription (lateral loops) which extend from axial condensates of chromatin (chromomeres). The chromomeres contain most of the chromosomal DNA which, along with histone, is tightly compacted as regular arrays of DNP. Many RNA transcripts are generated on the lateral loops, and heterogeneous nonhistone proteins associate with these transcripts, forming periodic condensates of 20-30 nm ribonucleoprotein (RNP) particles. These unit particles aggregate in various ways and to varying degrees and thereby confer distinctive gross morphologies to particular loops. There are about 10<latex>$^4$</latex> lateral loops per haploid complement of newt chromosomes and this figure is similar to the experimentally derived number of different messenger RNA sequences found in oocytes. From cytological and biochemical studies it is now possible to consider individual lateral loops from various aspects: as morphologically distinct units; as units of inheritance; as units of functional activity; as units of transcription; as units of transcribed repetitive sequences; and as units containing one coding sequence. The difficulties in arriving at a simple explanation of the organization of transcription in lampbrush chromosomes are discussed.