The proto-oncogene c-myc is the cellular homologue of the transforming sequence carried by the avian myelocytomastosis virus MC29. A growing body of evidence implicates structural and functional alterations in and around proto-oncogenes such as c-myc in tumorogenesis. Here we report that comparison of the structure of myc from a ductal adenocarcinoma of the breast and from normal breast tissue of the same patient (Sc) revealed a tumour-specific rearrangement of one myc locus and amplification of the other myc locus. (For myc reviews see refs 1-4; for myc involvement in breast neoplasia see refs 5-7.) Within the second intron of the rearranged locus was a non-myc sequence with nearly complete homology to a long interspersed repetitive element (a LINE-1 sequence or L1). In this case, the L1 sequence has functioned as a mobile genetic element to produce a somatic mutation.