A characteristic balanced reciprocal chromosomal translocation [t(2;13)(q35;q14)] has been identified in more than 50% of alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas. As the first step in characterization of the genes involved in this translocation, we constructed somatic cell hybrids that retained either the derivative chromosome 2 or the derivative chromosome 13 without a normal chromosome 13 homologue. Ten linked DNA probes known to be located within bands 13q13-q14 were mapped relative to the breakpoint on chromosome 13, allowing localization of the breakpoint region between two loci separated by 5.5 cM. A long-range restriction map extending approximately 2,300 kb around these loci failed to provide evidence of rearrangement. Additionally, we confirmed that the FMS-like tyrosine kinase gene (FLT), previously localized to 13q12 by in situ hybridization, is located proximal to the breakpoint, and we demonstrated that FLT is not a target for disruption by this tumor-specific translocation.