We report for the first time the genomics of a nuclear compartment of the eukaryotic cell. 454 sequencing and microarray analysis revealed the pattern of nucleolus-associated chromatin domains (NADs) in the linear human genome and identified different gene families and certain satellite repeats as the major building blocks of NADs, which constitute about 4% of the genome. Bioinformatic evaluation showed that NAD-localized genes take part in specific biological processes, like the response to other organisms, odor perception, and tissue development. 3D FISH and immunofluorescence experiments illustrated the spatial distribution of NAD-specific chromatin within interphase nuclei and its alteration upon transcriptional changes. Altogether, our findings describe the nature of DNA sequences associated with the human nucleolus and provide insights into the function of the nucleolus in genome organization and establishment of nuclear architecture.