Usher syndrome is a heterogeneous group of autosomal recessive disorders that combines variably severe congenital neurosensory hearing impairment with progressive night-blindness and visual loss similar to that in retinitis pigmentosa. Usher syndrome type I is distinguished by profound congenital (preverbal) deafness and retinal disease with onset in the first decade of life. Usher syndrome type II is characterized by partial hearing impairment and retinal dystrophy that occurs in late adolescence or early adulthood. The chromosomal assignment and the regional localization of the genetic mutation(s) causing the Usher syndromes are unknown. We analyzed a panel of polymorphic genomic markers for linkage to the disease gene among six families with Usher syndrome type I and 22 families with Usher syndrome type II. Significant linkage was established between Usher syndrome type II and the DNA marker locus THH33 (D1S81), which maps to chromosome 1q. The most likely location of the disease gene is at a map distance of 9 cM from THH33 (lod score 6.5). The same marker failed to show linkage in families segregating an allele for Usher syndrome type I. These data confirm the provisional assignment of the locus for Usher syndrome type II to the distal end of chromosome 1q and demonstrate that the clinical heterogeneity between Usher types I and II is caused by mutational events at different genetic loci. Regional localization has the potential to improve carrier detection and to provide antenatal diagnosis in families at risk for the disease.