The spontaneously hypertensive rat and the stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rat are useful models for human hypertension. In these strains hypertension is a polygenic trait, in which both autosomal and sex-linked genes can influence blood pressure. Linkage studies in crosses between the stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rat and the normotensive control strain Wistar-Kyoto have led to the localization of two genes, BP/SP-1 and BP/SP-2, that contribute significantly to blood pressure variation in the F2 population. BP/SP-1 and BP/SP-2 were assigned to rat chromosomes 10 and X, respectively. Comparison of the human and rat genetic maps indicates that BP/SP-1 could reside on human chromosome 17q in a region that also contains the angiotensin I-converting enzyme gene (ACE). This encodes a key enzyme of the renin-angiotensin system, and is therefore a candidate gene in primary hypertension. A rat microsatellite marker of ACE was mapped to rat chromosome 10 within the region containing BP/SP-1.