A genetic locus (D1S58, defined by DNA probe pMCT118) that contains a variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) has been successfully amplified from a very small amount of genomic deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The DNA sequence of the locus was determined and was found to consist of a 16-base consensus sequence and flanking sequences. Oligonucleotide primers complementary to the flanking sequences were synthesized to serve as primers for amplification of MCT118 by the PCR method. Human genomic DNA isolated from blood (2 ng from each sample) was successfully amplified at the MCT118 locus, and polymorphic bands were detectable by ethidium bromide staining after electrophoresis on polyacrylamide gels. Determination of genotypes at this VNTR locus can now be routinely achieved within 24 h, without the need for Southern blots or radioactive materials. Furthermore, the small size (387 to 723 base pairs) of the DNA fragments produced in the PCR amplification permits good resolution of individual alleles that differ by only one repeat unit. The precise specification of the number of tandem repeats present in each allelic fragment is reproducible from one analysis to another.