Two intragenic deletions (exon 18-19 and exon 24) and two point mutations (one missense mutation in exon 21 and one mutation at splice-donor site for exon 13) were detected in the retinoblastoma gene in somatic and tumor cells of patients with hereditary retinoblastoma. Three mutations were located in a domain essential for binding to oncoproteins encoded by DNA tumor viruses (Hu et al., 1990; Huang et al., 1990). One mutation (deletion of exon 24) was outside this domain but it is in the region essential for binding to transcriptional factor E2F, and for suppression of malignant phenotypes (Qian et al., 1992; Qin et al., 1992). A minisatellite-like sequence and short repeated sequences were located at the breakpoint of the deletion of exon 24, suggesting that two deletions on both sides of the minisatellite-like sequence may be generated by a "DNA slippage and misalignment" mechanism. Upon amplification of cDNA by the polymerase chain reaction, no transcript of gene with frameshift mutation (deletion of exon 24) was detected in skin fibroblasts, while transcripts of genes with missense mutations were detected. The results, in combination with previous reports (Dunn et al., 1989; Hashimoto et al., 1991), suggest the instability of transcripts with a premature stop codon or the suppressed expression of alleles with a premature stop codon in the retinoblastoma gene in somatic cells of hereditary patients.