Clinical, cytogenetic and molecular studies were performed in three patients with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome (WHS). In all cases the altered chromosome 4 appeared to be the result of a de novo deletion. Cytogenetic investigations located the breakpoint at 4p15.3 and 4p13. With cytogenetic methods it was not possible to decide whether these deletions were terminal or interstitial. DNA methods also failed to define a distal breakpoint within the 4p16.3 region which might have indicated an interstitial deletion. According to the literature, the paternal chromosome 4 is preferentially deleted in most patients with WHS. DNA analysis with polymorphic markers out of the 4p16.3 region revealed that in two of the cases reported here the deleted segment was of paternal and in one case of maternal origin.