An increasing number of human diseases are recognized to result from recurrent DNA rearrangements involving unstable genomic regions. These are termed genomic disorders, in which the clinical phenotype is a consequence of abnormal dosage of gene(s) located within the rearranged genomic fragments. Both inter- and intrachromosomal rearrangements are facilitated by the presence of region-specific low-copy repeats (LCRs) and result from nonallelic homologous recombination (NAHR) between paralogous genomic segments. LCRs usually span approximately 10-400 kb of genomic DNA, share >or= 97% sequence identity, and provide the substrates for homologous recombination, thus predisposing the region to rearrangements. Moreover, it has been suggested that higher order genomic architecture involving LCRs plays a significant role in karyotypic evolution accompanying primate speciation.