The 2;8 variant translocation of human Burkitt's lymphomas is closely related cytogenetically to the t(6;15) of murine plasmacytomas; both involve a reciprocal exchange between the Ig kappa locus and a band region indistinguishable from that bearing the c-myc oncogene. To define their molecular relationship, we have compared cloned chromosome 8 DNA from the t(2;8) breakpoint in the human Burkitt's lymphoma JBL2 with cloned DNA from the murine pvt-1 locus, the major chromosome 15 breakpoint region in murine t(6;15). DNA sequencing and Southern blot analysis shows that these two regions are homologous. Thus the t(2;8) in JBL2 is the molecular equivalent of many murine t(6;15). The murine pvt-1 locus lies an unknown distance 3' of c-myc; analysis of DNA from several tumours with c-myc amplification reveals that pvt-1 is co-amplified in at least one case, placing pvt-1 approximately 100-500 kb 3' of c-myc. The significance of these results with respect to the role of pvt-1 in tumorigenesis is discussed.