Background: Marfan syndrome, "the founding member" of the heritable disorders of connective tissue, is a common autosomal dominant disorder with highly variable clinical manifestations in the skeletal, ocular, and cardiovascular systems. The fundamental defect leading to this disease has escaped definition despite decades of research efforts by several groups of investigators.
Methods and results: Using linkage analyses with polymorphic markers of the human genome, we mapped the genetic defect to chromosome 15 in five families with Marfan syndrome. With three polymorphic markers we obtained definitive proof of linkage in these families (lod score = 3.92, theta = 0.0 +/- 0.11). The most probable location of the gene for the disease is currently D15S45 (lod score = 3.32, theta = 0.0 +/- 0.12).
Conclusions: The chromosomal localization of the mutation in Marfan syndrome is a first step toward the isolation and characterization of the defective gene and serves as a diagnostic test in families in which cosegregation of these markers with the disease has been confirmed.