Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is associated with mutations of mtDNA, but two features of LHON pedigrees are not explicable solely on the basis of mitochondrial inheritance. There is a large excess of affected males, and not all males at risk develop the disease. These observations could be explained by the existence of an X-linked visual loss susceptibility gene. This hypothesis was supported by linkage studies in Finland, placing the susceptibility locus at DXS7, with a maximum lod score of 2.48 at a recombination fraction of 0. Linkage studies in 1 Italian and 12 British families with LHON, analyzed either together or separately depending on the associated mtDNA mutation, have excluded the presence of such a locus from an interval of about 30 cM around DXS7 in these kindreds, with a total lod score of -26.51 at a recombination fraction of 0.