The lack of normally active paternal genes in 15q11-q13, as an outcome of either a paternal deletion or maternal disomy, accounts for >95% of all patients with Prader-Willi syndrome. Other mechanisms, including imprinting mutations and unbalanced translocations involving pat 15q11-q13, have been described elsewhere. In this study, we present a patient with a rare balanced, de novo translocation-46,XY,t(2;15)(q37.2;q11.2)-involving breakage within the Prader-Willi/Angelman syndrome region of the paternal homologue, without an apparent deletion. The patient demonstrated several manifestations of the Prader-Willi syndrome but was clinically atypical. Cytogenetic and molecular studies of this case demonstrated the translocation breakpoint to be between SNRPN and IPW, with mRNA expression of SNRPN and PAR-5 but absence of IPW and PAR-1 expression. These results suggest that disruption of either IPW expression or a nearby gene by an upstream break may contribute to the Prader-Willi syndrome phenotype and that expression of SNRPN or other upstream genes is responsible for other aspects of the classical Prader-Willi syndrome phenotype.