Mutations in the dystrophin gene cause the X chromosome-linked, recessive Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies. Dystrophin, a large cytoskeletal protein, copurifies with a complex of dystrophin-associated proteins which serve to anchor dystrophin to the sarcolemma. One of these associated proteins, adhalin, has been implicated as a candidate for severe childhood autosomal recessive muscular dystrophy (SCARMD) due to absence of anti-adhalin staining in muscle biopsy samples taken from SCARMD patients. Furthermore, the Duchenne-like dystrophic phenotype seen in the SCARMD families was shown to be tightly linked to chromosome 13 markers. To determine the genetic mutation responsible for autosomal dystrophy, we characterized the human adhalin gene. Contrary to our expectation, human adhalin was mapped to chromosome 17q21, excluding adhalin as the gene causing chromosome 13-associated SCARMD. Additionally, a splice form of adhalin message was found that predicts a 35-kDa nontransmembrane adhalin. The expression of both adhalin splice forms is exclusively restricted to striated muscle, unlike other components of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex.