Dyschondrosteosis (DCO) and hypochondroplasia (HCH) are common skeletal dysplasias characterized by disproportionate short stature. The diagnosis of these conditions might be difficult to establish especially in early childhood. Point mutations and deletions of the short stature homeobox containing gene (SHOX) are detected in DCO and idiopathic short stature with some rhizomelic body disproportion, whereas mutations in the fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) gene are found in 40-70% of HCH cases. In this study, we performed mutational analysis of the coding region of the SHOX gene in five DCO and 18 HCH patients, all of whom tested negative for the known HCH-associated FGFR3 mutations. The polymorphic CA-repeat analysis, direct sequencing and Southern blotting were used for detection of deletions and point mutations. The auxological and radiological phenotype of these patients was carefully determined. Three novel mutations in DCO patients were found: (1) a deletion of one base (de1272G) (according to GenBank accession nos. Y11536, Y11535), resulting in a premature stop codon at position 75 of the amino acid sequence; (2) the transversion C485G resulting in the substitution Leu132Val; and (3) the transversion G549T causing an Arg153Leu substitution. These substitutions segregate with the DCO phenotype and affect evolutionarily conserved homeodomain residues, based on a comparison of homeobox containing proteins in 13 species. Moreover, these changes were not found in 80 unrelated, unaffected individuals. This strongly suggests that these mutations are pathogenic. The phenotype of our patients with DCO and HCH varied from mild to severe shortness and body disproportion. These results further support clinical and genetic heterogeneity of dyschondrosteosis and hypochondroplasia.