Based on Internet search, we were contacted by a 50-year-old man suffering from severe abdominal pain. Acute hepatic porphyria was considered from positive Watson-Schwartz test. He, not being a health professional, searched for centres with ability to do molecular diagnosis and for information about therapeutic possibilities. He asked his physician for haem-arginate (Normosang, Orphan Europe, Paris) treatment, arranged sending his blood to our laboratory and mediated genetic counselling for him and his family. Molecular analyses of the PBGD gene revealed a novel mutation in exon 15, the 973insG. Subsequently, genetic analysis was performed in 18 members of the proband's extensive family. In 12 members of the family, the same mutation was found. The mutation, which consisted of one nucleotide insertion, resulted in addition of four different amino acids leading to a protein that is prematurely truncated by the stop codon. The effect of this mutation was investigated by expression of the wild-type and mutated PBGD in a prokaryotic expression system. The mutation resulted in instability of the protein and loss of enzymatic function. The increasing access to a number of disease- and symptom-oriented web pages presents a new and unusual venue for gaining knowledge and enabling self-diagnosis and self-help. It is, therefore, important that disease-oriented Internet pages for public use should be designed with clarity and accurate current knowledge-based background.