Familial ligand-defective apolipoprotein B-100 (FDB) is an autosomal dominant disorder leading to plasma LDL cholesterol elevation and coronary artery disease (CAD). Two specific mutations in the APOB gene--R3500Q and R3531C--induce FDB. We report an original method to detect both mutations simultaneously, based upon PCR-mediated, site-directed mutagenesis and double restriction of a unique PCR product. With this method we have investigated the prevalence of these mutations in 1,040 French patients. The R3500Q mutation was found in five probands. Genotypes were determined for 10 APOB polymorphic markers and were consistent with the common European ancestral haplotype previously reported. The only exception was one FDB proband who did not harbor the 48 repeat allele of the 3'HVR. Additionally, the first two R3531C mutations were identified in French probands. Genotypes were consistent with a previously reported haplotype, suggesting that this is another mutation of European ancestry.