We report the discovery of GATA2 as a new myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)-acute myeloid leukemia (AML) predisposition gene. We found the same, previously unidentified heterozygous c.1061C>T (p.Thr354Met) missense mutation in the GATA2 transcription factor gene segregating with the multigenerational transmission of MDS-AML in three families and a GATA2 c.1063_1065delACA (p.Thr355del) mutation at an adjacent codon in a fourth MDS family. The resulting alterations reside within the second zinc finger of GATA2, which mediates DNA-binding and protein-protein interactions. We show differential effects of the mutations on the transactivation of target genes, cellular differentiation, apoptosis and global gene expression. Identification of such predisposing genes to familial forms of MDS and AML is critical for more effective diagnosis and prognosis, counseling, selection of related bone marrow transplant donors and development of therapies.