Recently, 138 cases of infantile cirrhosis originating in several families in the Austrian province of the Tyrol were reported. This endemic Tyrolean infantile cirrhosis (ETIC) is indistinguishable from Indian childhood cirrhosis (ICC), idiopathic copper toxicosis (ICT), and resembles the early forms of Wilson's disease (WND). It has been argued that ETIC might represent an allelic variant of the WND gene, which is a copper transporting P-type ATPase (ATP7B). Assuming that ETIC results from a founder effect, a possible role for ATP7B in ETIC was investigated by association studies and haplotype sharing. Because of its lethality, the mapping of ETIC was focused on obligate gene carriers, i.e. the patients' parents. Our data indicate that ETIC is a separate genetic entity, distinct from WND.