A wide variety of mutations in the parkin gene, including exon deletions and duplications, as well as point mutations, result in autosomal recessive early-onset parkinsonism. Interestingly, several of these anomalies were found repeatedly in unrelated patients and may therefore result from recurrent, de novo mutational events or from founder effects. In the present study, haplotype analysis, using 10 microsatellite markers covering a 4.7-cM region known to contain the parkin gene, was performed in 48 families, mostly from European countries, with early-onset autosomal recessive parkinsonism. The patients carried 14 distinct mutations in the parkin gene, and each mutation was detected in more than one family. Our results support the hypothesis that exon rearrangements occurred independently, whereas some point mutations, found in families from different geographic origins, may have been transmitted by a common founder.