We describe four children with a novel primary immunodeficiency consisting of specific natural-killer (NK) cell deficiency and susceptibility to viral diseases. One child developed an Epstein-Barr virus-driven lymphoproliferative disorder; two others developed severe respiratory illnesses of probable viral etiology. The four patients are related and belong to a large inbred kindred of Irish nomadic descent, which suggests autosomal recessive inheritance of this defect. A genomewide scan identified a single 12-Mb region on chromosome 8p11.23-q11.21 that was linked to this immunodeficiency (maximum LOD score 4.51). The mapping of the disease-causing genomic region paves the way for the identification of a novel pathway governing NK cell differentiation in humans.