A deletion map of Yq11 has been constructed by analyzing 23 individuals bearing structural abnormalities (isochromosomes, terminal deletions and X;Y, Y;X, or A;Y translocations) in the long arm of the Y chromosome. Twenty-two Yq-specific loci were detected using 14 DNA probes, ordered in 11 deletion intervals, and correlated with the cytogenetic map of the chromosome. The breakpoints of seven translocations involving Xp22 and Yq11 were mapped. The results obtained from at least five translocations suggest that these abnormal chromosomes may result from aberrant interchanges between X-Y homologous regions. The use of probes detecting Yq11 and Xp22.3 homologous sequences allowed us to compare the order of loci within these two chromosomal regions. The data suggest that at least three physically and temporary distinct rearrangements (pericentric inversion of pseudoautosomal sequences and/or X-Y transpositions and duplications) have occurred during evolution and account for the present organization of this region of the human Y chromosome. The correlation between the patient' phenotypes and the extent of their Yq11 deletions permits the tentative assignment of a locus involved in human spermatogenesis to a specific interval within Yq11.23.