A familial mutation in SRY, the gene coding for the testis-determining factor TDF, was identified in an XY female with gonadal dysgenesis, her father, her two brothers and her uncle. The mutation consists of a T to C transition in the region of the SRY gene coding for a protein motif known as the high mobility group (HMG) box, a protein domain known to confer DNA-binding specificity on the SRY protein. This point mutation results in the substitution, at amino acid position 109, of a serine residue for phenylalanine, a conserved aromatic residue in almost all HMG box motifs known. This F109S mutation was not found in 176 male controls. When recombinant wildtype SRY and SRYF109S mutant protein were tested in vitro for binding to the target site AAC AAAG, no differences in DNA-binding activity were observed. These results imply that the F109S mutation either is a rare neutral sequence variant, or produces an SRY protein with slightly altered in vivo activity, the resulting sex phenotype depending on the genetic back-ground or environmental factors.