The inheritance of adiposity and related traits has been investigated in the obese, diabetes-prone KK/HlLt (KK) and the lean, normoglycemic C57BL/6J (B6) mouse strains, their F(1) hybrids, and a large intercross generation. Adiposity index (AI) was defined as the sum of four fat depot weights divided by body weight. Both male and female KK mice were obese, but AI values averaged twofold higher in females than in males. In contrast, B6 females were slightly more lean than males. A genome-wide search revealed several qualitative trait loci (QTLs) affecting AI. The proximal region of Chromosome (Chr) 9 has a large effect on AI, with a much stronger effect in females (lod = 6.3) than in males (lod = 2.7). The data for females fit a model in which a dominant allele from KK increases AI by 30%, with the lod score peak falling between markers D9Mit66 and D9Mit328. This QTL has large effects on inguinal and mesenteric fat pad weights, with smaller effects on gonadal and retroperitoneal fat pads. The region of Chr 9 containing this QTL has extensive homology to human Chr 11q. An X-linked QTL affecting AI was evident in males (lod = 3.77), but not females (lod = 0.7). Exclusion of mesenteric fat from male AI resulted in an increased lod score (lod = 5.0) at 8 cM distal to DXMit166. A suggestive AI QTL (lod = 4.2), differentially affecting males, was localized to Chr 18 near the glucocorticoid receptor locus. A region of Chr 7 had a strong effect on body weight (lod = 6.9), a significant effect on inguinal fat% (lod = 4.4), and a suggestive effect on AI in females (lod = 4.1). Plasma leptin levels were associated with genotypes on Chr 9 (lod = 5.9) and Chr 7 (lod = 4.2). A region of Chr 1 had a suggestive effect on fasted blood glucose (lod = 3.6).