The location of the TNF and other genes in the central MHC and their possible relevance to disease susceptibility provided an impetus to develop useful typing markers. The 4AOHW undertook to assess the various markers available, including DNA sequence-based systems. A panel of well-characterized lymphoblastoid cell lines were typed by Nco I RLFP analysis, SSO typing, and TNF microsatellite typing. RFLP and SSO typing were relatively reproducible as judged by the blind replicates. The two techniques provided the same results with only one exception, and it would be reasonable to prefer SSO typing because of its advantages in terms of cost and time. Microsatellite typing was much more discriminating but, as expected, less robust in that some discrepancies were apparent. As a result of the workshop and subsequent testing, alleles and haplotypes of were allocated to most cells within the 4AOHW panel, including 10W cells typed in previous studies. While there was evidence that microsatellites may be relatively stable, they have the potential to identify recent mutations within ancestral haplotypes.