Mutations in the androgen receptor gene cause phenotypic abnormalities of male sexual development that range from a female phenotype (complete testicular feminization) to that of undervirilized or infertile men. Using the tools of molecular biology, we have analyzed androgen receptor gene mutations in 31 unrelated subjects with androgen resistance syndromes. Most of the defects are due to nucleotide changes that cause premature termination codons or single amino acid substitutions within the open reading frame encoding the androgen receptor, and the majority of these substitutions are localized in three regions of the androgen receptor: the DNA-binding domain and two segments of the androgen-binding domain. Less frequently, partial or complete gene deletions have been identified. Functional studies and immunoblot assays of the androgen receptors in patients with androgen resistance indicate that in most cases the phenotypic abnormalities are the result of impairment of receptor function or decreases in receptor abundance or both.