Eight polymorphic restriction enzyme sites at the phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) locus were analyzed from the parental chromosomes in 33 Danish nuclear families with at least one phenylketonuric (PKU) child. Determination of haplotypes of 66 normal chromosomes and 66 chromosomes bearing mutant allele (S) demonstrated that there are at least two haplotypes which occur predominantly on PKU chromosomes and rarely otherwise. Overall, the relative frequencies of the various haplotypes are significantly different on PKU-and normal-allele bearing chromosomes, even though there is no predominantly occurring unique haplotype which can characterize the PKU chromosomes. In addition, no significant association (linkage disequilibrium) between any single polymorphic site and the mutant allele (s) was observed. The results suggest that either the phenylketonuric mutation was very ancient so that the polymorphic sites and the mutation have reached linkage equilibrium or the mutant allele (s) are the results of multiple mutations in the phenylalanine hydroxylase gene in man. Furthermore, a crude relationship between standardized linkage disequilibria and physical map distances of the polymorphic sites indicates that there is no apparent recombination hot-spot in the human phenylalanine hydroxylase gene, since the recombination rate within the locus apears to be uniform and likely to be occurring at a rate similar to that within the HLA gene cluster. The limitations of this later analysis are discussed in view of the sampling errors of disequilibrium measure used, and the potential untility of the PAH haplotypes for prenatal diagnosis and detection of PKU carriers is established.