About 20 p. cent of cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are familial (FALS). Fifteen percent of FALS cases are associated with an abnormality in the superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene. To date, more than 100 different genetic abnormalities have been reported, all except two are autosomal dominant. The clinical characteristics of patients presenting with FALS associated with an SOD1 abnormality is homogeneous when there is no doubt about the hereditary aspect of the genetic abnormality: mean age at onset 42 years, limb onset, slow evolution. Except when present in the setting of a clearly inherited disease (FALS) (several patients through several generations), the causality of a given SOD1 mutation often remains an open question. Consequently, search for SOD1 mutation is not warranted when atypical features such as young age at onset or slow progression are present. Conversely, a complete family study is justified to determine the precise role of a given SOD1 mutation because of the large number of potential SOD1 mutations, the variability of the transmission mode, and the non-exceptional absence of proven causality for ALS. Specific cases where a frequent SOD1 mutation with a recognized causal effect is recognized (no more than 15 out of more than 90 mutations) would be an exception.