From a series of 1265 individuals with different craniosynostoses hospitalized between 1976 and 1993, 260 probands with nonsyndromic unilateral (181) or bilateral (79) coronal synostosis were analysed. The prevalence of craniosynostoses was estimated as 1 in 2100 children. In the group of coronal synostosis, family history was obtained on 192 probands in 180 pedigrees. The male:female ratio was 1:2. The average paternal age was 32.7 +/- 6.4 years, which is significantly higher than normal. In 26 of the 180 pedigrees, a high degree of familial aggregation was observed, giving a 14.4% figure of familial cases. The bicoronal synostoses were significantly more often familial than the unicoronal synostoses. Segregation analysis of these families leads to the conclusion that coronal synostosis is transmitted as a dominant disorder with 0.60 penetrance and 61% of sporadic cases.