Acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) is a metabolic disorder characterized by a partial deficiency of the porphobilinogen deaminase (PBGD, EC 184.108.40.206) activity. Previous haplotype analysis combined with genealogical data suggested a common origin of the PBGD gene mutation in the AIP families originating from northern Sweden (Lappland), where the highest prevalence of the disease (1 in 1500) is observed. An AIP family from Lappland consisting of two patients and two unaffected subjects was investigated. The genomic DNA fragments of the PBGD gene were amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and directly sequenced, and the sequence of the coding region was compared with the normal sequence to identify the mutation. A base substitution, G to A, in exon 10 of the PBGD gene was identified. The mutation changes the codon for Trp198 to a stop codon (nonsense mutation) and creates a recognition site for the restriction enzyme Nhe I. Screening of 33 Swedish AIP families showed that 15 had this mutation. Genealogical data revealed that 12 of the 15 families were related to the northern family. This finding supports the hypothesis of a "founder effect" of the mutation in the families originating from Lappland. In addition, a method is described for detection of specific sequences in the genome by one-sided PCR using Taq polymerase. This method is simple, fast, and economical and can be substituted for hybridization analysis using allele-specific oligonucleotides.