One form of congenital muscular dystrophy, rigid spine syndrome (MIM 602771), is a rare neuromuscular disorder characterized by early rigidity of the spine and respiratory insufficiency. A locus on 1p35-36 (RSMD1) was recently found to segregate with rigid spine muscular dystrophy 1 (ref. 1). Here we refine the locus and find evidence of linkage disequilibrium associated with SEPN1, which encodes the recently described selenoprotein N (ref. 2). Our identification and analysis of mutations in SEPN1 is the first description of a selenoprotein implicated in a human disease.