Deletions ranging from 100 Kb to 1 Mb - too small to be detected under the microscope - may still involve dozens of genes, thus causing microdeletion syndromes. The vast majority of these syndromes are caused by haploinsufficiency of one or several genes and are transmitted as dominant traits. We identified seven patients originating from an extended family and presenting with a unique syndrome, inherited in a recessive mode, consisting of cystinuria, neonatal seizures, hypotonia, severe somatic and developmental delay, facial dysmorphism, and lactic acidemia. Reduced activity of all the respiratory chain enzymatic complexes that are encoded in the mitochondria was found in muscle biopsy specimens of the patients examined. The molecular basis of this disorder is a homozygous deletion of 179,311 bp on chromosome 2p16, which includes the type I cystinuria gene (SLC3A1), the protein phosphatase 2Cβ gene (PP2Cβ), an unidentified gene (KIAA0436), and several expressed sequence tags. The extent of the deletion suggests that this unique syndrome is related to the complete absence of these genes' products, one of which may be essential for the synthesis of mitochondrial encoded proteins.