We performed a genomewide scan for genes that predispose to low serum HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) in 25 well-defined Finnish families that were ascertained for familial low HDL-C and premature coronary heart disease. The potential loci for low HDL-C that were identified initially were tested in an independent sample group of 29 Finnish families that were ascertained for familial combined hyperlipidemia (FCHL), expressing low HDL-C as one component trait. The data from the previous genome scan were also reanalyzed for this trait. We found evidence for linkage between the low-HDL-C trait and three loci, in a pooled data analysis of families with low HDL-C and FCHL. The strongest statistical evidence was obtained at a locus on chromosome 8q23, with a two-point LOD score of 4.7 under a recessive mode of inheritance and a multipoint LOD score of 3.3. Evidence for linkage also emerged for loci on chromosomes 16q24.1-24.2 and 20q13.11, the latter representing a recently characterized region for type 2 diabetes. Besides these three loci, loci on chromosomes 2p and 3p showed linkage in the families with low HDL-C and a locus on 2ptel in the families with FCHL.