We analyzed 192 strains of the pathogenic yeast Candida glabrata from patients, mainly suffering from systemic infection, at Danish hospitals during 1985–1999. Our analysis showed that these strains were closely related but exhibited large karyotype polymorphism. Nine strains contained small chromosomes, which were smaller than 0.5 Mb. Regarding the year, patient and hospital, these C. glabrata strains had independent origin and the analyzed small chromosomes were structurally not related to each other (i.e. they contained different sets of genes). We suggest that at least two mechanisms could participate in their origin: (i) through a segmental duplication which covered the centromeric region, or (ii) by a translocation event moving a larger chromosome arm to another chromosome that leaves the centromere part with the shorter arm. The first type of small chromosomes carrying duplicated genes exhibited mitotic instability, while the second type, which contained the corresponding genes in only one copy in the genome, was mitotically stable. Apparently, in patients C. glabrata chromosomes are frequently reshuffled resulting in new genetic configurations, including appearance of small chromosomes, and some of these resulting “mutant” strains can have increased fitness in a certain patient “environment”.