The Smith-Magenis syndrome (SMS) appears to be a contiguous-gene-deletion syndrome associated with a proximal deletion of the short arm of chromosome 17 in band p11.2. The spectrum of clinical findings includes short stature, brachydactyly, developmental delay, dysmorphic features, sleep disturbances, and behavioral problems. The complex phenotypic features suggest deletion of several contiguous genes. However, to date, no protein-encoding gene has been mapped to the SMS critical region. Recently, the Drosophila melanogaster flightless-I gene, fliI, and the homologous human cDNA have been isolated. Mutations in fliI result in loss of flight ability and, when severe, cause lethality due to incomplete cellularization with subsequent abnormal gastrulation. Here, we demonstrate that the human homologue (FLI) maps within the SMS critical region. Genomic cosmids were used as probes for FISH, which localized this gene to the 17p11.2 region. Somatic-cell hybrid-panel mapping further localized this gene to the SMS critical region. Southern blot analysis of somatic-cell hybrids and/or FISH analysis of lymphoblastoid cell lines from 12 SMS patients demonstrates the deletion of one copy of FLI in all SMS patients analyzed.