In searching for a putative third gene for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), we studied the genetic inheritance of a large family (NFL10) previously excluded from linkage to both the PKD1 locus and the PKD2 locus. We screened 48 members of the NFL10 pedigree, by ultrasonography, and genotyped them, with informative markers, at both the PKD1 locus and the PKD2 locus. Twenty-eight of 48 individuals assessed were affected with ADPKD. Inspection of the haplotypes of these individuals suggested the possibility of bilineal disease from independently segregating PKD1 and PKD2 mutations. Using single-stranded conformational analysis, we screened for and found a PKD2 mutation (i.e., 2152delA; L736X) in 12 affected pedigree members. Additionally, when the disease status of these individuals was coded as "unknown" in linkage analysis, we also found, with markers at the PKD1 locus, significant LOD scores (i.e., >3.0). These findings strongly support the presence of a PKD1 mutation in 15 other affected pedigree members, who lack the PKD2 mutation. Two additional affected individuals had trans-heterozygous mutations involving both genes, and they had renal disease that was more severe than that in affected individuals who had either mutation alone. This is the first documentation of bilineal disease in ADPKD. In humans, trans-heterozygous mutations involving both PKD1 and PKD2 are not necessarily embryonically lethal. However, the disease associated with the presence of both mutations appears to be more severe than the disease associated with either mutation alone. The presence of bilineal disease as a confounder needs to be considered seriously in the search for the elusive PKD3 locus.