Gaucher disease, the most common lysosomal storage disorder, results from the inherited deficiency of the enzyme glucocerebrosidase. Three clinical types are recognized: type 1, non-neuronopathic; type 2, acute neuronopathic; and type 3, subacute neuronopathic. Type 2 Gaucher disease, the rarest type, is progressive and fatal. We have performed molecular analyses of a cohort of 31 patients with type 2 Gaucher disease. The cases studied included fetuses presenting prenatally with hydrops fetalis, infants with the collodion baby phenotype, and infants diagnosed after several months of life. All 62 mutant glucocerebrosidase (GBA) alleles were identified. Thirty-three different mutant alleles were found, including point mutations, splice junction mutations, deletions, fusion alleles and recombinant alleles. Eleven novel mutations were identified in these patients: R131L, H255Q, R285H, S196P, H311R, c.330delA, V398F, F259L, c.533delC, Y304C and A190E. Mutation L444P was found on 25 patient alleles. Southern blots and direct sequencing demonstrated that mutation L444P occurred alone on 9 alleles, with E326K on one allele and as part of a recombinant allele on 15 alleles. There were no homozygotes for point mutation L444P. The recombinant alleles that included L444P resulted from either reciprocal recombination or gene conversion with the nearby glucocerebrosidase pseudogene, and seven different sites of recombination were identified. Homozygosity for a recombinant allele was associated with early lethality. We have also summarized the literature describing mutations associated with type 2 disease, and list 50 different mutations. This report constitutes the most comprehensive molecular study to date of type 2 Gaucher disease, and it demonstrates that there is significant phenotypic and genotypic heterogeneity among patients with type 2 Gaucher disease. Hum Mutat 15:181-188, 2000. Published 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.