In contrast to the frequent dominant optic atrophies (DOAs) in which the neuropathy is usually an isolated event, isolated recessive optic atrophies (ROAs) are very uncommon and have been described as severe congenital or early infantile conditions. To date, two loci for isolated DOA have been mapped, of which one was ascribed to mutations in the OPA1 gene. Conversely, no isolated autosomal ROA locus had previously been localised. Here, we report a large multiplex consanguineous family of French origin affected with an early onset but slowly progressive form of isolated OA. A genome-wide search for homozygosity allowed the localisation of the disease-causing gene to chromosome 8q21-q22 (Zmax of 3.41 at theta=0 for D8S270), in a 12 Mb interval flanked by markers D8S1702 and D8S1794. This localisation excludes allelism of the disease with both isolated DOAs, on one hand, or all known syndromic forms of ROA, on the other hand, supporting the mapping of a first gene for isolated autosomal ROA (ROA1) on the long arm of chromosome 8.