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Abetalipoproteinemia (ABL) is a recessive disorder in which affected individuals have extremely low or undetectable levels of serum apo B-containing lipoproteins. Using restriction fragment length polymorphisms, we have studied two families, each with two children with classical ABL born of normal parents. In each of these families, the two affected children have inherited different apo B alleles from at least one parent, whereas the siblings would be anticipated to share common alleles if this disorder were due to an apo B gene mutation. This linkage study shows that in these families, the apo B gene is discordant with ABL and therefore the disorder is caused by a defect in another gene, which is important for the normal synthesis or secretion of apo B-containing lipoproteins from both the liver and intestine.