Bone marrow cells from 37 patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), who had the characteristic Philadelphia chromosome in their leukemic cells, were examined for ABL gene rearrangement by pulsed- field gel electrophoresis. By using several probes from the ABL gene, we found that in 33 of 37 (89%) patients studied, the translocation breakpoints in ABL fell within the 175-kilobase (kb) intron between exons 1b and 1a. Furthermore, breakpoints in this intron clustered in three regions, approximately 30 +/- 5, 100 +/- 13, and 135 +/- 8 kb downstream from exon 1b. These findings suggest that there may be specific sequences in this intron that facilitate the processes of chromosomal translocation.

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