Diamond-Blackfan anaemia (DBA) is a congenital disease characterized by defective erythroid progenitor maturation; 30% of patients have congenital malformations. The link between these malformations and defective erythropoiesis is unclear: a defect in a molecule acting both on embryo development and haemopoiesis has been proposed. Inheritance is autosomal dominant in most familial cases, but recessive families have also been reported. Many cases are sporadic. A DBA locus has been mapped on chromosome 19q13.2 (Gustavsson et al, 1997),  but several families unlinked to this locus have also been reported (Gustavsson et al, 1998) .
This paper presents clinical, epidemiological and molecular data for DBA in the Italian population.Segregation analysis of 19q markers in patients with DBA showed exclusion of this locus in 5/12 families with inherited DBA. There was evidently locus heterogeneity for DBA in this population. A new microdeletion was identified in one patient. Other families, in which DBA segregates concordantly with the 19q critical region, suggest incomplete penetrance and expressivity of the DBA gene.