Human probes identifying the cellular homologs of the v-ets gene, Hu-ets-1 and Hu-ets-2, and two panels of rodent-human cell hybrids were used to study specific translocations occurring in acute leukemias. The human ets-1 gene was found to translocate from chromosome 11 to 4 in the t(4;11)(q21;23), a translocation characteristic of a subtype of leukemia that represents the expansion of a myeloid/lymphoid precursor cell. Similarly, the human ets-2 gene was found to translocate from chromosome 21 to chromosome 8 in the t(8;21)(q22;q22), a nonrandom translocation commonly found in patients with acute myeloid leukemia with morphology M2 (AML-M2). Both translocations are associated with expression different from the expression in normal lymphoid cells of ets genes, raising the possibility that these genes play a role in the pathogenesis of these leukemias.