A patient with the Pearson marrow and pancreas syndrome is presented. She showed an anaemia with neutropenia and thrombopenia, failure to thrive, diarrhoea, disturbed glucose homeostasis and lactic acidosis. An exocrine pancreatic insufficiency was lacking. The disease followed a fatal course. Biochemical investigations of skeletal muscle revealed a disturbed mitochondrial energy metabolism, while many ultrastructural abnormal features were observed in the muscle tissue. Molecular genetic studies showed a de novo deletion in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), different in size from the already published deletions and flanked by two 4 bp direct repeats, interspaced by 4-5 non-repeated nucleotides. mtDNA from 12 other tissues showed the same deletion in different percentages. No obvious relation between these percentages and tissue dysfunction was found. In spite of an open reading frame of 74 codons, only little transcription product of the genomic region resulting from the deletion was found.