Smith-Magenis syndrome (SMS) is a multiple congenital anomalies/mental retardation syndrome associated with an interstitial deletion of chromosome 17 involving band p11.2. SMS is hypothesised to be a contiguous gene syndrome in which the phenotype arises from the haploinsufficiency of multiple, functionally-unrelated genes in close physical proximity, although the true molecular basis of SMS is not yet known. In this study, we have generated the first overlapping and contiguous transcription map of the SMS critical interval, linking the proximal 17p11.2 region near the SMS-REPM and the distal region near D17S740 in a minimum tiling path of 16 BACs and two PACs. Additional clones provide greater coverage throughout the critical region. Not including the repetitive sequences that flank the critical interval, the map is comprised of 13 known genes, 14 ESTs, and six genomic markers, and is a synthesis of Southern hybridisation and polymerase chain reaction data from gene and marker localisation to BACs and PACs and database sequence analysis from the human genome project high-throughput draft sequence. In order to identify possible candidate genes, we performed sequence analysis and determined the tissue expression pattern analysis of 10 novel ESTs that are deleted in all SMS patients. We also present a detailed review of six promising candidate genes that map to the SMS critical region.