Mutants of Escherichia coli K12 which accumulated the haem precursor porphobilinogen are described. The mutants grew very slowly on carbon and energy sources which K12 uses only oxidatively, and they had low catalase activities, suggesting that they were deficient in haem. Extracts had one-tenth of the parental activity of the enzyme porphobilinogen deaminase. In transduction, the mutation mapped close to genes ilvD and metE at minute 84. The gene was tentatively identified as hemC, coding for porphobilinogen deaminase. The gene symbol hemC replaces the earlier and temporary symbol popE.