Mutations in the ATM gene are responsible for the autosomal recessive disorder, ataxia telangiectasia (A-T). Mutations in different ethnic groups are distributed along the entire length of the large, 66 exon ATM gene. In this study, A-T patients from 16 Russian families were assessed for immunological status and ATM haplotype analysis, and screened for ATM mutations. Haplotype analysis was performed to enhance the efficiency of mutation detection. Mutations predicted to cause disease were identified in 19 of 32 alleles (59%), including a truncating mutation (c.5932G>T) that was identified in 8/32 (25%) alleles both by haplotype analysis and mutation screening. This mutation has been found in low abundance in other European A-T cohorts suggesting that this founder-effect mutation may be of Russian origin. The abundance of this mutation may allow for large-scale screening of cancer patients to help clarify the role of ATM in breast and other cancers. Nine of the remaining mutations were previously unreported, and add to the multitude of unique mutations found throughout the gene. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.