Deletion of the long arm of chromosome 20 is a common abnormality associated with myeloid malignancies. We characterized abnormalities of chromosome 20 as defined by metaphase cytogenetics (MC) in patients with myeloid neoplasms to define commonly deleted regions (CDR) and commonly retained regions (CRR) using genome-wide, high resolution single nucleotide polymorphism array (SNP-A) analysis. We reviewed the MC results of a cohort of 1,162 patients with myeloid malignancies, including myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), MDS/myeloproliferative neoplasia (MDS/MPN), and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We further analyzed a subcohort of 532 patients by SNP-A using the Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0 and GeneChip Human Mapping 250K Nsp arrays. By MC, 5% (54/1,162) harbored a deletion of 20q; in 30% (16/54), del(20q) was the sole cytogenetic abnormality. By SNP-A analysis, we identified del(20q) in 23 patients, 3 not detected by MC. In four cases, monosomy 20 with a marker chromosome by MC was proven to be an interstitial deletion of 20q by SNP-A. We defined 2 CDR and 2 CRR on chromosome arm 20q: CDR1 spanned 2.5 Mb between bands 20q11.23 and 20q12, while CDR2 encompassed 1.8 Mb within 20q13.12. CRR1 spanned 1.9 Mb within 20q11.21 and CRR2 encompassed 2.5 Mb within 20q13.33. In contrast to other chromosomes frequently affected by deletions, no somatic copy neutral loss of heterozygosity (CN-LOH) was detected. Our data suggest that SNP-A is useful for the detection of cryptic aberrations of chromosome 20q and allows for a more precise characterization of complex karyotypes. Furthermore, SNP-A allowed definition of a CDR on 20q.