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The previously proposed method [Fan, Han & Qian (1984). Acta Cryst. A40, 495-498; Fan & Gu (1985). Acta Cryst. A41, 280-284] has been improved and tested for ab initio phasing of the one-wavelength anomalous scattering data at 2 Å, resolution from a known small protein, avian pancreatic polypeptide. Positions of the anomalous scatterers were found by the direct-method program SAPI and used to normalize the anomalous differences before calculating the phase doublets. 2108 independent reflections and about 790 000 Σ2 relationships were involved in the phase derivation. The 'best phases' and the figures of merit obtained from the direct method were used to calculate a Fourier map, which revealed the essential feature of the structure.
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