Linkage of asthma and high total serum IgE levels to chromosome 12q15-q24.1 has been recently described. To evaluate this region further in regard to total IgE responsiveness, we genotyped 52 unrelated German children with persistently "high" total serum IgE (selected from a noninterventional prospective multicenter cohort study) and their parents. We carefully defined a most extreme IgE phenotype and analyzed it as a dichotomous trait. We tested for linkage between high total IgE concentrations and nine polymorphic microsatellite markers on chromosome 12q15-q24.1 using the transmission/disequilibrium test. Evidence for linkage and allelic association for high total IgE was observed for four markers in this region. This study demonstrates the value of using extreme phenotypes in genetic analysis of a complex quantitative trait.