Type 2 diabetes is a serious, genetically influenced disease for which no fully effective treatments are available. Identification of biochemical or regulatory pathways involved in the disease syndrome could lead to innovative therapeutic interventions. One way to identify such pathways is the genetic analysis of families with multiple affected members where disease predisposing genes are likely to be segregating. We undertook a genomewide screen (389-395 microsatellite markers) in samples of 835 white, 591 Mexican American, 229 black, and 128 Japanese American individuals collected as part of the American Diabetes Association's GENNID study. Multipoint nonparametric linkage analyses were performed with diabetes, and diabetes or impaired glucose homeostasis (IH). Linkage to diabetes or IH was detected near markers D5S1404 (map position 77 cM, LOD = 2.80), D12S853 (map position 82 cM, LOD = 2.81) and GATA172D05 (X-chromosome map position 130 cM, LOD = 2.99) in whites, near marker D3S2432 (map position 51 cM, LOD = 3.91) in Mexican Americans, and near marker D10S1412 (map position 14 cM, LOD = 2.39) in African Americans mainly collected in phase 1 of the study. Further analyses showed evidence for interactions between the chromosome 5 locus and region on chromosome 12 containing the MODY 3 gene (map position 132 cM) and between the X-chromosome locus and region near D12S853 (map position 82 cM) in whites. Although these results were not replicated in samples collected in phase 2 of the GENNID study, the region on chromosome 12 was replicated in samples from whites described by Bektas et al. (1999).