Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), or immotile cilia syndrome (ICS), is an autosomal recessive disorder affecting ciliary movement with an incidence of 1 in 20000-30000. Dysmotility to complete immotility of cilia results in a multisystem disease of variable severity with recurrent respiratory tract infections leading to bronchiectasis and male subfertility. Ultrastructural defects are present in ciliated mucosa and spermatozoa. Situs inversus (SI) is found in about half of the patients (Kartagener syndrome). We have collected samples from 61 European and North American families with PCD. A genome-wide linkage search was performed in 31 multiplex families (169 individuals including 70 affecteds) using 188 evenly spaced (19cM average interval) polymorphic markers. Both parametric (recessive model) and non-parametric (identity by descent allele sharing) linkage analyses were used. No major locus for the majority of the families was identified, although the sample was powerful enough to detect linkage if 40% of the families were linked to one locus. These results strongly suggest extensive locus heterogeneity. Potential genomic regions harbouring PCD loci were localised on chromosomes 3p, 4q, 5p, 7p, 8q, 10p, 11q, 13q, 15q, 16p, 17q and 19q. Linkage analysis using PCD families with a dynein arm deficiency provided 'suggestive' evidence for linkage to chromosomal regions 8q, 16pter, while analyses using only PCD families with situs inversus resulted in 'suggestive' scores for chromosomes 8q, and 19q.