Translocations and deletions of the short arm of chromosome 12 [t(12p) and del(12p)] are common recurring abnormalities in a broad spectrum of hematologic malignant diseases. We studied 20 patients and one cell line whose cells contained 12p13 translocations and/or 12p deletions using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with phage, plasmid, and cosmid probes that we previously mapped and ordered on 12p12–13. FISH analysis showed that the 12p13 translocation breakpoints were clustered between two cosmids, D12S133 and D12S142, in 11 of 12 patients and in one cell line. FISH analysis of 11 patients with deletions demonstrated that the deletions were interstitial rather than terminal and that the distal part of 12p12, including the GDI-D4 gene and D12S54 marker, was deleted in all 11 patients. Moreover, FISH analysis showed that cells from 3 of these patients contained both a del(12p) and a 12p13 translocation and that the affected regions of these rearrangements appeared to overlap. We identified three yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) clones that span all the 12p13 translocation breakpoints mapped between D12S133 and D12S142. They have inserts of human DNA between 1.39 and 1.67 Mb. Because the region between D12S133 and D12S142 also represents the telomeric border of the smallest commonly deleted region of 12p, we also studied patients with a del(12p) using these YACs. The smallest YAC, 964c10, was deleted in 8 of 9 patients studied. In the other patient, the YAC labeled the del(12p) chromosome more weakly than the normal chromosome 12, suggesting that a part of the YAC was deleted. Thus, most 12p13 translocation breakpoints were clustered within the sequences contained in the 1.39 Mb YAC and this YAC appears to include the telomeric border of the smallest commonly deleted region. Whether the same gene is involved in both the translocations and deletions is presently unknown.