Rearrangements in 17p11.2, responsible for the 1.5 Mb duplications and deletions associated, respectively, with autosomal dominant Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1A disease (CMT1A) and hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies (HNPP) are a suitable model for studying human recombination. Rearrangements in 17p11.2 are caused by unequal crossing-over between two homologous 24 kb sequences, the CMT1A-REPs, that flank the disease locus and occur in most cases within a 1.7 kb hotspot. We sequenced this hotspot in 28 de novo patients (25 CMT1A and three HNPP), in order to localize precisely, at the DNA sequence level, the crossing-overs. We show that some chimeric CMT1A-REPs in de novo patients (10/28) present conversion of DNA segments associated with the crossing-over. These rearrangements can be explained by the double-strand break (DSB) repair model described in yeast. Fine mapping of the de novo rearrangements provided evidence that the successive steps of this model, heteroduplex DNA formation, mismatch correction and gene conversion, occurred in patients. Furthermore, the model explains 17p11.2 recombinations between chromosome homologues as well as between sister chromatids. In addition, defective mismatch repair of the heteroduplex DNA, observed in two patients, resulted in two heterozygous chimeric CMT1A-REPs which can be explained, as in yeast, by post-meiotic segregation. This work supports the hypothesis that the DSB repair model of DNA exchange may apply universally from yeasts to humans.