Choroideraemia (tapetochoroidal dystrophy, TCD), a common form of X-linked blindness, is characterized by progressive dystrophy of the choroid, retinal pigment epithelium and retina. Previous studies have assigned the TCD gene to a small segment of the Xq21 band. By making use of reverse genetics strategies we have isolated eight overlapping complementary DNA clones from the same chromosomal region. The corresponding gene is expressed in retina, choroid and retinal pigment epithelium. The cDNAs encompass an open reading frame of 948 base pairs that is structurally altered in eight TCD patients with deletions, and in a female patient with a balanced translocation involving Xq21. These findings provide strong evidence that we have cloned the gene underlying choroideraemia. Elucidation of its function should provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms responsible for this disorder and other hereditary retinopathies.