To find a marker for the bovine "muscular hypertrophy" gene and for the "roan" locus, we have typed six cattle pedigrees totaling 540 animals for nine blood group systems, for 12 biochemical markers, for RFLPs at four loci, and with five probes revealing multilocus DNA fingerprints. Segregation analysis of the fingerprint bands showed that, in cattle, a fingerprint probe will reveal a mean of 7.6 clearly resolvable bands, behaving as simple, highly informative Mendelian entities characterized by a mean mutation rate of +/- 1/4500 gametes. For one of the bands, we observed a "mutation burst" generating germline mosaicism. Because some of the fingerprint bands were allelic or corresponded to clustered minisatellites, a mean of only 5.7 independent loci is explored per probe. Fingerprint bands revealed by different probes also show a clear propensity for close linkage, pointing toward nonrandom distribution of minisatellite sequences or the existence of minisatellite clusters. Although this reduces the power of fingerprints for linkage analysis substantially, we were able to demonstrate genetic linkage between fingerprint bands and at least three of the classical markers, to exclude the roan locus from 4.5 Morgans of the bovine genome with the DNA fingerprints and for an additional 2.5 Morgans with the classical markers, and to identify a solid candidate marker for the bovine muscular hypertrophy gene, yielding a lod score greater than or equal to 2.84 without any obliged recombinant.