Recent family studies of manic-depressive psychosis have emphasized the role of genetics in the aetiology of this bipolar illness (3, 8). However, the mode of genetic transmission is still unknown, the main controversy being between major gene and polygenic inheritance. Furthermore, it is not yet evident whether bipolar illness constitutes a homogeneous entity or whether it may be subdivided into different genetic subgroups. Mendlewicz, Fieve, Rainer, and Fleiss (1) recently produced some evidence that bipolar psychosis can be differentiated into two subgroups on the basis of family history data. Two matched samples of 30 patients each were studied, distinguished by the presence or absence of bipolar illness in their first degree relatives. The patients with a positive family history (FH+) in first degree relatives showed earlier onset of illness and more psychotic symptoms occurring in the manic phase. Alcoholism, if present, was of an episodic pattern. In patients with a negative family history (FH—), there was a later onset of illness; psychotic symptoms occurred usually in the depressive phase; and alcoholism, when present, tended to be chronic.