Molecular genetic techniques were utilized to examine antithrombin III (ATIII) gene status in 16 independently ascertained kindreds with hereditary ATIII deficiency. In one of these families antithrombin III deficiency is caused by hemizygosity of the ATIII locus. In the remaining 15 kindreds, two copies of the ATIII gene are present and appear to be grossly normal at the level of whole genome Southern blotting, suggesting that small deletions, insertions or limited nucleotide substitution(s) in the antithrombin III gene, or “trans- acting” defects at other loci involved in the processing, modification, and secretion of biologically active ATIII are responsible for the observed anticoagulant disorders.

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