A notable subset of the recent literature on the disorder neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) describes patients with NF1, facial anomalies, and other unusual findings. We describe a molecular re-evaluation of two such families reported previously by Kaplan and Rosenblatt , who suggested that their NF1 manifestations, facial phenotype, and other findings could result from a disorder distinct from NF1. Submicroscopic deletions involving the NF1 gene were identified in both families by fluorescent in situ hybridization and analysis of somatic cell hybrids. Affected subjects of the first family were heterozygous for a microdeletion of approximately 2 Mb, which included the entire NF1 gene and flanking contiguous sequences. The family was remarkable for cosegregation of the NF1 microdeletion with facial abnormalities and a pattern of early onset of cutaneous neurofibromata upon transmission from an affected mother to her three affected children. The propositus of the second family carried a deletion that at the least involved NF1 exon 2 through intron 27, which is > 200 kilobases in length. Because all persons in the family were deceased, the size of the deletion could not be determined precisely. Facial anomalies were observed in the propositus and his NF1-affected mother and sister. The data from these families support our hypothesis, which was initially based solely on sporadic deletion cases, that deletion of the entire NF1 gene, or in conjunction with deletion of unknown contiguous genes, causes the facial anomalies and early onset of neurofibromata observed in this subset of NF1 patients. In addition, other features observed in the persons in these families suggest that some NF1 microdeletion patients may be at increased risk for connective tissue abnormalities and/or neoplasms.