Direct sequencing of amplified genomic DNA has been used to investigate the molecular basis of haemophilia B and thus identify specific amino acids that are essential for maintenance of structure or function of factor IX. Substitution of Cys 336, Asn 120 results in loss of circulating factor IX antigen and deletion of Arg 37 in gross reduction of circulating protein and loss of activity, while substitution of Arg -4, Arg 333, Asp 64 and Pro 55 cause loss of function without marked reduction in protein serum levels. Frameshift or point mutations resulting in marked loss of coding information are found in patients who develop antibodies to administered factor IX. An enhanced rate of mutation is evident at two CpG dinucleotides in the factor IX gene, which accounts for approximately 25% of all point mutations causing haemophilia B known to date. Direct sequencing of mutations also permits, for the first time, rapid and unequivocal prenatal and carrier diagnoses, in all cases, by eliminating the need for informative segregation of markers.