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I was reading up on causative factors of leukemia on medicinenet and I came across the following statement:

...an exchange between chromosomes 9 and 22 leads to what is known as the Philadelphia chromosome.

What is the mechanism behind this? Is it purely mechanical? Would the locations on both chromosome’s be equidistance from the end (for lack of biology vocabulary.) In other words, would each segment involved in the swap have to be similarly sized?

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi, in this paper you might find some details: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1762911 In brief: 1) the mechansims can be several, I wouldn't say "purely mechanical" but it is related to the physical/chemical properties of the region of chromosome involved (some regions have sequences that for partly unknown reasons are more prone to be translocated than others). 2) It is not necessary that the two regions have similar size, and actually unbalanced translocations (in the exchange is not reciprocal) exist. $\endgroup$ – Fabio Marroni Mar 8 at 12:06

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