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Sixteen males and two females with symmetrical (mild) type of chondrodysplasia punctata were tested for mutations in the X chromosome located arylsulphatase D and E genes. We identified one nonsense and two missense mutations in the arylsulphatase E gene in three males. No mutations were detected in the arylsulphatase D gene. Family studies showed segregation of the mutant genes establishing X linked inheritance for these families. Asymptomatic females and males were found in these studies. The clinical presentation varies not only between unrelated affected males, but also between affected males within the same family. We also conclude that clinical diagnosis of chondrodysplasia punctata in adults can be difficult. Finally, our results indicate that brachytelephalangy is not necessarily a feature of X linked symmetrical chondrodysplasia punctata.