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The presenilin 1 gene has recently been identified as the locus on chromosome 14 which is responsible for a large proportion of early onset, autosomal dominantly inherited Alzheimer's disease (AD). We have elucidated the intron/exon structure of the gene and designed intronic primers to enable direct sequencing of the entire coding region (10 exons) of the presenilin gene in a large number of families. This strategy has enabled us to find a further two novel mutations in the gene. We discuss the distribution of mutations and the proportions of autosomal dominant AD with a mean age of onset below 60 years caused by mutations in this gene.