Barth syndrome is a severe inherited disorder, often fatal in childhood, characterized by cardiac and skeletal myopathy, short stature and neutropenia. The disease has been mapped to a very gene-rich region in distal portion of Xq28. We now report the identification of unique mutations in one of the genes in this region, termed G4.5, expressed at high level in cardiac and skeletal muscle. Different mRNAs can be produced by alternative splicing of the primary G4.5 transcript, encoding novel proteins that differ at the N terminus and in the central region. The mutations introduce stop codons in the open reading frame interrupting translation of most of the putative proteins (which we term 'tafazzins'). Our results suggest that G4.5 is the genetic locus responsible for the Barth syndrome.