We report a new screening method for adenylosuccinate lyase (ASase) deficiency using capillary electrophoresis (CE). This enzyme defect causes secondary autism and psychomotor retardation in early childhood. In all body fluids of these patients, two succinylpurine metabolites can be found that are normally not detectable: succinyladenosine and succinylaminoimidazole carboxamide (SAICA) riboside. A Beckman P/ACE 2050 capillary electrophoresis system was used with a 47.1 cm capillary, 75 microns ID, and the P/ACE Beckman UV absorbance detector. Untreated urine, injected for 1 s, was separated in a pH 8.63 borate buffer at 20 kV. The two succinylpurines (migration times 13.36 and 13.60 min) were detected at 254 nm only in urine of patients with ASase deficiency but not in control samples.