We describe 36 patients (six were apparently sporadic cases and 30 were cases from nine families) with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) characterized by a distinct phenotype associated with homozygosity for an Asp90Ala mutation in the CuZn-superoxide dismutase gene. The presenting motor manifestation in all patients was paresis in the legs, with slow progression to the upper extremities and finally to the bulbar muscles. The age of ALS onset varied from 20 to 94 years, with a mean of 44 years. Mean survival time was 13 years for the 11 deceased patients. However, this is probably biased and untypical (low) when compared with the disease duration in the surviving patients, and when considering other medical complications in the deceased patients. The rate of progression was highly variable, even within families. All patients showed signs of involvement of both upper and lower motor neurons. Other neurological features included painful muscle spasms and paraesthesiae in the lower extremities. Two-thirds of patients experienced difficulty with micturition. Electrophysiological studies confirmed the slow progression and spatial distribution of clinical symptoms in the peripheral motor system. Furthermore, EMG potentials evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation (MEP) were compared with those evoked by cervical or lumbosacral electrical stimulation and often revealed marked slowing of transmission in central motor pathways. In Sweden and Finland ALS patients homozygous for the Asp90Ala mutation constitute a phenotypically characteristic subset of motor neuron disease.