Chromosome investigation of 35 individuals with a 5p- karyotype and their families revealed the presence of 27 apparently terminal deletions, four interstitial deletions, and four translocations, including two familial cases. Four of the probands with simple deletions and one of the mother were mosaics. Unusual chromosomal heteromorphism, as rendered visible after acridine orange staining, was observed on the short arm of chromosome 14 in two cases and, after heterochromatin staining, on chromosome 19 in one family. Measurement studies, carried out in probands with simple deletions and in two control groups, showed a short-arm loss clustering between 32% and 62% of the normal short-arm length. Using at least two complementary staining methods per proband, we found that the midportion of the 5p15 segment probably must be deleted to develop the typical clinical features of the cri du chat syndrome.