A new group of metabolic disorders, the carbohydrate-deficient glycoprotein (CDG) syndromes, is reviewed with emphasis on the key condition, the CDG syndrome type I. This disease, an autosomal-recessive multisystem condition, has now been diagnosed in 45 Scandinavian patients. It is characterized by carbohydrate deficiencies of a number of glycoproteins, including uniform changes in transferrin. The transferrin alterations provide a distinct biologic marker and a practical and simple laboratory diagnostic means employing analysis of serum or blood spots from Guthrie-type filter paper. The syndrome presents differently through various life periods. A four-stage grouping system by age has been constructed and is presented. During infancy, internal organ symptoms are dominant; some may be life-threatening. In later childhood and adolescence, static mental deficiency, cerebellar ataxia, slowly progressive lower limb neuropathy, and pigmentary retinal degeneration, as well as secondary skeletal deformities, are the most prominent findings. Two very recently described clinical and biologic variants, CDG syndromes II and III, are summarized and compared to CDG type I.