Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a rare pure red-cell hypoplasia of unknown etiology and pathogenesis. A major DBA locus has previously been localized to chromosome 19q13.2. Samples from additional families have been collected to identify key recombinations, microdeletions, and the possibility of heterogeneity for the disorder. In total, 29 multiplex DBA families and 50 families that comprise sporadic DBA cases have been analyzed with polymorphic 19q13 markers, including a newly identified short-tandem repeat in the critical gene region. The results from DNA analysis of 29 multiplex families revealed that 26 of these were consistent with a DBA gene on 19q localized to within a 4.1-cM interval restricted by loci D19S200 and D19S178; however, in three multiplex families, the DBA candidate region on 19q13 was excluded from the segregation of marker alleles. Our results suggest genetic heterogeneity for DBA, and we show that a gene region on chromosome 19q segregates with the disease in the majority of familial cases. Among the 50 families comprising sporadic DBA cases, we identified two novel and overlapping microdeletions on chromosome 19q13. In combination, the three known microdeletions associated with DBA restrict the critical gene region to approximately 1 Mb. The results indicate that a proportion of sporadic DBA cases are caused by deletions in the 19q13 region.