Atopy, a clinical syndrome characterized by heightened IgE responsiveness, is largely determined by genetic factors. The disease may well be heterogeneous but the mode of inheritance is unknown. Several genes have been named which affected IgE responsiveness. However, results are conflicting reflecting heterogeneity and a complicated inheritance pattern of the atopic syndrome. In 1994 linkage of the 5q32 gene region and elevated total IgE levels were reported, leaving the IL4 gene as a prominent candidate.