We recently showed that the 1.7 megabase multiple aberration region (MAR) on human chromosome 12q15 harbours recurrent breakpoints frequently found in a variety of benign solid tumours. We now report a candidate gene within MAR suspected to be of pathogenetical relevance. Using positional cloning, we have identified the high mobility group protein gene HMGI-C within a 175 kilobase segment of MAR and characterized its genomic organization. By FISH analysis, we show the majority of the breakpoints of eight different benign solid tumour types fall within this gene. By Southern blot and 3'-RACE analysis, we demonstrate consistent rearrangements in HMGI-C and/or expression of altered HMGI-C transcripts. These results suggest a link between a member of the HMG gene family and benign solid tumour development.