During routine screening of retinoblastoma patients for esterase D activity in red blood cell lysates a patient was identified with only 50% of normal enzyme activity. Chromosome analysis showed that this patient had a small deletion within chromosome region 13q14. Parental studies showed that, whereas the father had normal enzyme levels, the mother had esterase D levels which were also 50% of normal and a similar small 13q14 deletion. Ophthalmological examination failed to demonstrate any retinal abnormality in either parent. Thus we present the first case not only of the direct transmission of a 13q14 deletion within a family but also of an individual in whom the deletion has not predisposed to tumour formation.