Atopy as defined in terms of IgE responsiveness was reported to be controlled by a single gene in British families, and this concept was further supported by a significant linkage between atopy and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) detected by a DNA probe specific to chromosome 11q13. To confirm this observation in a Japanese population, segregation and linkage analyses were done in four large families. Although segregation patterns of atopy were in agreement with the pattern of autosomal dominant inheritance, there was no significant linkage between atopy and locus 11q13. Alterations in the definitions of atopy did not affect the results. These findings suggested the presence of heterogeneity in genetic elements of atopy, even though atopy may be determined mainly by a single dominant gene.