Mutations in the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor gene result in the autosomal dominant disorder familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). Many different LDL receptor mutations have been identified and characterized, demonstrating a high degree of allelic heterogeneity at this locus. The ability to identify mutant LDL receptor genes for prenatal diagnosis of homozygous FH or to study the role of the LDL receptor gene in polygenic hypercholesterolemia requires the use of closely linked RFLPs. In the present study we used 10 different RFLPs, including three newly described polymorphisms, to construct 123 independent haplotypes from 20 Caucasian American pedigrees. Our sample contained 31 different haplotypes varying in frequency from 0.8% to 29.3%; the five most common haplotypes account for 67.5% of the sample. The heterozygosity and PIC of each site were determined, and these values disclosed that eight of the RFLPs were substantially polymorphic. Linkage-disequilibrium analysis of the haplotype data revealed strong nonrandom associations among all 10 RFLPs, especially among those sites clustered in the 3' region of the gene. Evolutionary analysis suggests the occurrence of both mutational and recombinational events in the generation of the observed haplotypes. A strategy for haplotype analysis of the LDL receptor gene in individuals of Caucasian American descent is presented.