The 11p15.5 region of human chromosome 11 seems to contain a locus or loci involved in congenital overgrowth anomalies as well as in the genesis of many tumours associated with the Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS). Given the unusual differential parental allele involvement in the different aetiological forms of BWS and the loss of maternal alleles in associated tumours, we have now used 11p15.5 markers to determine the parental origin of chromosome 11 in eight sporadic cases of BWS. Probands in three informative families had uniparental paternal disomy for region 11p15.5. Further, an overall greatly increased frequency of homozygosity for several 11p15.5 markers in 21 sporadic BWS patients suggests that isodisomy probably accounts for an even higher proportion of BWS sporadic cases. This demonstrates that uniparental paternal disomy can be associated with a genetic cancer-predisposing syndrome.