The syndrome of 46,XX true hermaphroditism is a clinical condition in which both ovarian and testicular tissue are found in one individual. Both Mullerian and Wolffian structures are usually present, and external genitalia are often ambiguous. Two alternative mechanisms have been proposed to explain the development of testicular tissue in these subjects: (1) translocation of chromosomal material encoding the testicular determination factor (TDF) from the Y to the X chromosome or to an autosome, or (2) an autosomal dominant mutation that permits testicular determination in the absence of TDF. We have investigated five subjects with 46,XX true hermaphroditism. Four individuals had a normal 46,XX karyotype; one subject (307) had an apparent terminal deletion of the short arm of one X chromosome. Genomic DNA was isolated from these individuals and subjected to Southern blot analysis. Only subject 307 had Y chromosomal sequences that included the pseudoautosomal boundary, SRY (sex-determining region of Y), ZFY (Y gene encoding a zinc finger protein), and DXYS5 (an anonymous locus on the distal short arm of Y) but lacked sequences for DYZ5 (proximal short arm of Y) and for the long arm probes DYZ1 and DYZ2. The genomic DNA of the other four subjects lacked detectable Y chromosomal sequences when assayed either by Southern blotting or after polymerase chain reaction amplification. Our data demonstrate that 46,XX true hermaphroditism is a genetically heterogeneous condition, some subjects having TDF sequences but most not. The 46,XX subjects without SRY may have a mutation of an autosomal gene that permits testicular determination in the absence of TDF.