Chromosomal rearrangements that create gene fusions are common features of human tumors. The prevailing view is that the resultant chimeric transcripts and proteins are abnormal, tumor-specific products that provide tumor cells with a growth and/or survival advantage. We show that normal endometrial stromal cells contain a specific chimeric RNA joining 5' exons of the JAZF1 gene on chromosome 7p15 to 3' exons of the Polycomb group gene JJAZ1/SUZ12 on chromosome 17q11 and that this RNA is translated into JAZF1-JJAZ1, a protein with anti-apoptotic activity. The JAZF1-JJAZ1 RNA appears to arise from physiologically regulated trans-splicing between precursor messenger RNAs for JAZF1 and JJAZ1. The chimeric RNA and protein are identical to those produced from a gene fusion found in human endometrial stromal tumors. These observations suggest that certain gene fusions may be pro-neoplastic owing to constitutive expression of chimeric gene products normally generated by trans-splicing of RNAs in developing tissues.