The chromosomal breakpoint and fusion transcripts of the pre-B-leukaemia-derived SEM cell line carrying a reciprocal t(4;11)(q21;q23) translocation were analysed. The breakpoint from derivative chromosome der4 was cloned and sequenced. The crossover site was localized in intron 7 of the ALL-1 gene on chromosome 11q23 and in a large intron of the AF-4 (FEL) gene. RNA transcripts from both wild-type genes and both hybrid genes were detected by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays. In addition, alternatively spliced mRNA species derived from the der4 chromosome were found. They were generated by using the exon 5' of the breakpoint on der4 as a common splice donor site and the 5' boundaries of exons 8 or 9 of the ALL-1 gene as alternative splice acceptor sites. The hypothesis is proposed that selective pressure operators to maintain the presence of both derivative chromosomes as important elements in the leukaemogenic process.