Simulated multigenerational pedigrees were analyzed using the program GENPED and POINTER to examine the 1) limits of segregation analysis for detecting single locus, two-allele transmission of a dichotomous trait and 2) accuracy of the parameter estimates. Ten data sets of 30 pedigrees each (approximately 25 persons per pedigree) were simulated. The genotypic penetrance values were varied but the population prevalence of the trait was kept constant at 2%. For some data sets a linked marker locus was also simulated. Previous results had shown that a single major locus could be easily detected when the heterozygote penetrance (f1) was high or midway between the two homozygote penetrances. In this study, we found a single major locus could not be consistently detected by either method of segregation analysis when f1 was "low" to "intermediate." Accuracy of the parameter estimates depended on assumptions about the population prevalence. In those cases where the major locus could not be detected by segregation analysis, linkage to a marker locus could be detected as long as the marker was closely linked and there were not phenocopies in the population. Owing to the limited number of simulations in this study, we cannot generalize these findings. However, they provide a basis for further testing of methods of segregation analysis when factors such as the parameter values, family structure, and ascertainment scheme are varied.