The nature of the molecular lesions in the alpha-galactosidase A (alpha-Gal A) gene causing Fabry disease was determined in 50 unrelated families with the classic phenotype of this X-linked recessive lysosomal storage disease. Genomic DNA was isolated from affected males or obligate carrier females, and the entire alpha-Gal A coding region as well as the flanking and intronic sequences were analyzed by PCR amplification and automated sequencing. Forty-five new mutations were identified including 38 single base substitutions (32 missense and four nonsense) and nine gene rearrangements: MIR, M42T, G43D, G43V, H46Y, F50C, L68F, G132R, T141I, Y152X, K168R, G183S, V199M, P205R, Y207S, Q221X, C223R, C223Y, D234Y, G271C, A288P, P293A, R301G, I303N, I317T, E341D, P362L, R363C, R363H, G373D, I384N, T385P, Q396X, E398K, S401X, P409A, g7325insC, g7384del13, g8341delG, g8391del4/ins3, g10511delTAGT, g10704delACAG, g11019insG, g11021insG, and g11048delAGG. In the remaining five Fabry families, four previously reported mutations were detected (W81X, R112C, g11011delTC, and g11050delGAG) of which the R112C substitution was found in two families who were unrelated by haplotyping. These studies further define the heterogeneity of mutations in the alpha-Gal A gene causing the classical Fabry disease phenotype, and permit precise carrier detection and prenatal diagnosis in these families.