Specific and recurrent chromosomal rearrangements are often observed in the karyotypes of phytohemagglutinin-stimulated lymphocytes. The percentage of cells demonstrating these rearrangements is dramatically increased in the genetic disease ataxia telangiectasia. Inversion of chromosome 7 represents approximately half of the chromosomal rearrangements in this disease. Because the chromosomal locations of the inv(7) breakpoints coincide precisely with those of the T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) beta and gamma genes, it has been hypothesized that this rearrangement may occur by recombination between those two loci. Here, we present direct evidence that inversion of chromosome 7 in ataxia telangiectasia is generated by site-specific recombination between a TCR gamma variable segment and a TCR beta joining segment.