To date it has been difficult to characterize completely a genetic disorder, such as hemophilia A, in which the involved gene is large and unrelated affected individuals have different mutations, most of which are point mutations. Toward this end, we analyzed the DNA of 29 patients with mild-to-moderate hemophilia A in which the causative mutation is likely to be a missense mutation. Using computer analysis, we determined the melting properties of factor VIII gene sequences to design primer sets for PCR amplification and subsequent denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). A total of 45 primer sets was chosen to amplify 99% of the coding region of the gene and 41 of 50 splice junctions. To facilitate detection of point mutations, we mixed DNA from two male patients, and both homoduplexes and heteroduplexes were analyzed. With these 45 primer sets, 26 DNAs containing previously identified point mutations in the factor VIII gene were studied, and all 26 mutations were easily distinguishable from normal. After analyzing the 29 patients with unknown mutations, we identified the disease-producing mutation in 25 (86%). Two polymorphisms and two rare normal variants were also found. Therefore, DGGE after computer analysis is a powerful method for nearly complete characterization of disease-producing mutations and polymorphisms in large genes such as that for factor VIII.