The sister of a child affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) was referred for genetic counselling to assess the risk of her being a carrier. Her brother had died 15 years previously at the age of 8. There were no other affected males in the family. There were no methods for DNA investigation at the time of the child's death and the family had never been studied for linkage with polymorphic probes on the chromosomal region Xp21. The only tissue from which an assessment of the risk could be made by DNA linkage analysis was two of the child's deciduous teeth that the parents had kept. DNA was extracted using a protocol described for the recovery of ancient DNA from museum specimens and archaeological finds. Multiplex amplification did not reveal deletions in 19 exons spanning the hot-spot regions for deletions within the dystrophin gene in Xp21. Linkage analysis using three highly polymorphic microsatellites demonstrated that the sister had not received the X chromosome borne by her brother. These results show that DNA extracted from teeth is a reliable source for molecular diagnosis.