Although the genetic pattern in NF has been definitely established as autosomal dominant, more precise data regarding penetrance, natural history, prevalence, and heterogeneity are needed for the counseling of families. NF is the prototypic disorder for the study of the biologic mechanisms of variable expressivity. The widely cited prevalence figure of Crowe is probably too high; thus the mutation ratio estimation in NF is among the highest in man but close to other common Mendelian disorders. With the existing data on frequency of Lisch nodules and with future prospective date on café-au-lait spot development, an age-of-onset penetrance curve for NF could be constructed for genetic counseling purposes. The segmental form of NF is of interest as cases of this presentation may be helpful in studying the hypothesis of human somatic mutation when DNA analysis is available. Guidelines for routine evaluation and ongoing health supervision of individuals with neurofibromatosis need to be developed; multidisciplinary NF clinics and collaborative study groups are appropriate settings for this undertaking. Neurofibromatosis is an important disorder for the study of the psychodynamic processes that families experience in dealing with uncertainty.