The Marfan syndrome is a common autosomal dominant disorder of connective tissue. Despite many years of intensive investigation, the primary genetic defect has not yet been identified. Reverse genetic methods, targeted at mapping this disease gene, have resulted in an initial report of linkage of the genetic locus for the Marfan phenotype in Finnish families to two polymorphic markers on chromosome 15. We have investigated four large multiplex American families with classic Marfan syndrome using standard genetic linkage methods. Our data confirm the assignment of the Marfan syndrome gene to chromosome 15, but establish a more centromeric location (defined by markers D15S25 and D15S1) as the most probable site for the genetic defect (lod score = 12.1, theta = 0.00). These data should facilitate identification and characterization of the Marfan syndrome gene and, in selected families, have immediate application to diagnosis of equivocal cases or prenatal counseling.