Genetic and molecular studies show that the Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) locus at Xp21 is large and complex. We have analyzed this region using pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and have determined physical distances between Xp21 probes. The sum of the sizes of the Sfil restriction fragments detected by these probes is greater than 4000 kb. The deletion endpoints in two DMD patients were detected by observing changes in these restriction fragments. In addition, the Xp21 breakpoint for the X;1 translocation in an affected female was mapped. These results demonstrate the applicability of PFGE for analysis of Xp21, and should facilitate the mapping of other translocations and deletions in this region, some of which lead to glycerol kinase deficiency and adrenal hypoplasia as well as DMD.