Using loss of heterozygosity analysis, a method designed to detect moderate to large gene deletions, we have identified a new-mutation neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) patient who is somatically mosaic for a large maternally derived deletion in the NF1 gene region. The deletion extends at least from exon 4 near the 5' end of the gene to intron 39 near the 3' end. The gene-coding region is, therefore, mostly or entirely deleted, encompassing a loss of > or = 100 kb. We hypothesize that the deletion occurred at a relatively early developmental timepoint, since signs of NF1 in this patient are not confined to a specific body region, as seen in "segmental" NF, and since both mesodermally and ectodermally derived cells are affected. This report provides the first molecular evidence of somatic mosaicism in NF1 and, taken together with a recent report of germ-line mosaicism in NF1, adds credence to the concept that mosaicism plays an important role in phenotypic and genetic aspects of NF1 and may even be a relatively common phenomenon.