A directed-search strategy for point mutations in the factor VIII gene causing hemophilia A was used to screen eight potentially hypermutable CpG dinucleotides occurring at sites deemed to be of functional importance. Polymerase chain reaction-amplified DNA samples from 793 unrelated individuals with hemophilia A were screened by discriminant oligonucleotide hybridization. Point mutations were identified in 16 patients that were consistent with a model of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) deamination. Four new examples of recurrent mutation were demonstrated at the following codons: 336 (CGA----TGA), 372 (CGC----TGC), 372 (CGC--- -CAC), and 1689 (CGC----TGC). These are functionally important cleavage sites for either activated protein C or thrombin. Further novel C----T transitions were identified in the remaining arginine codons screened (- 5, 427, 583, 795, and 1696), resulting in the creation of TGA termination codons. Differences in mutation frequency were found both within and between the CpG sites and between ethnic groups. These differences are assumed to be due to differences in the level of cytosine methylation at these sites, although direct evidence for this inference is lacking.