May-Hegglin anomaly (MHA) is an autosomal dominant macrothrombocytopenia of unclear pathogenesis characterized by thrombocytopenia, giant platelets and leukocyte inclusions. Studies have indicated that platelet structure and function are normal, suggesting a defect in megakaryocyte fragmentation. The disorder has been linked to chromosome 22q12-13. Here we screen a candidate gene in this region, encoding non-muscle myosin heavy chain A (MYH9), for mutations in ten families. In each family, we identified one of three sequence variants within either the -helical coiled coil or the tailpiece domain that co-segregated with disease status. The E1841K mutation was found in 5 families and occurs at a conserved site in the rod domain. This mutation was not found in 40 normal individuals. Four families had a nonsense mutation that resulted in truncation of most of the tailpiece. One family had a T1155I mutation present in an affected mother and daughter, but not in the mother's parents, thus representing a new mutation. Among the 30 affected individuals, 21 unaffected individuals and 13 spouses in the 10 families, there was correlation of a variant of MYH9 with the presence of MHA. The identification of MYH9 as the disease gene for MHA establishes the pathogenesis of the disorder, should provide further insight into the processes of normal platelet formation and may facilitate identification of the genetic basis of related disorders.