Cryptdin is a defensin-related peptide, and its mRNA accumulates to high abundance in epithelial cells of intestinal crypts beginning in the second week of postnatal development. The cryptdin (Defcr) locus was assigned to mouse chromosome 8 by Southern blotting of DNAs from mouse/hamster somatic hybrid cell lines. Analysis of somatic hybrid DNAs for mouse-specific restriction fragments showed zero discordance and perfect concordance with chromosome 8. The Defcr locus was localized on chromosome 8 by analysis of DNAs from recombinant inbred (RI) strains of mice after identification of three potential Defcr alleles based on restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) in inbred strains. The strain distribution patterns of the Defcr locus were compared with those of chromosome 8 markers in five panels of RI strains. Analysis of cosegregation of Defcr with xenotropic proviral locus Xmv-26 and additional loci confirmed the chromosomal assignment and showed that Defcr is on proximal chromosome 8 within approximately 6 (1.3 to 21.3) cM of Xmv-26. The mouse Defcr locus and the human defensin gene(s) located on chromosome 8p23 appear to map to homologous regions.