A unique method of partitioning human quantitative genetic variation into effects due to specific chromosomal regions is presented. This method is based on estimating the proportion of genetic material, R, shared identical by descent (IBD) by sibling pairs in a specified chromosomal region, on the basis of their marker genotypes at a set of marker loci spanning the region. The mean and variance of the distribution of R conditional on IBD status and recombination pattern between two marker loci are derived as a function of the distance between the two loci. The distribution of the estimates of R is exemplified using data on 22 loci on chromosome 7. A method of using the estimated R values and observed values of a quantitative trait in a set of sibships to estimate the proportion of total genetic variance explained by loci in the region of interest is presented. Monte Carlo simulation techniques are used to show that this method is more powerful than existing methods of quantitative linkage analysis based on sib pairs. It is also shown through simulation studies that the proposed method is sensitive to genetic variation arising from both a single locus of large effect as well as from several loosely linked loci of moderate phenotypic effect.