The human skin is a complex organ composed of the surface epidermis, the subjacent dermis (in which blood vessels, lymphatics and nerves are located) and the skin appendages. The latter include hair follicles, sebaceous glands (which secrete lipids that may serve as a permeability barrier, emollient or antimicrobial agent), apocrine glands (which secrete scents) and eccrine glands (which produce sweat for temperature control). Hereditary cylindromatosis (MIM 123850) is a rare autosomal dominant disease characterised by the development of multiple neoplasms originating from the skin appendages. These neoplasms have been termed cylindromas due to their characteristic microscopic architecture and are believed to exhibit apocrine or eccrine differentiation. We have carried out a genome search using two families with this disease, which has provided strong evidence for linkage of cylindromatosis to loci on chromosome 16q12-q13. Using markers close to the cylindromatosis gene, consistent loss of the wild-type allele was observed in 19 tumours from four individuals in the two families, indicating that the gene is likely to be a tumour suppressor gene.