The congenital nephrotic syndrome of the Finnish type (CNF) is an autosomal recessive disease characterized by massive proteinuria already at birth. The gene locus defective in CNF was searched for using polymorphic markers of candidate genes coding for components of the basement membrane (BM). The linkage analyses in 17 Finnish CNF families demonstrated exclusion of obligatory recombination events between the disease and eight genes coding for BM components. The genes coding for the alpha 1(IV), alpha 2(IV), alpha 3(IV) and alpha 4(IV) chain of type IV collagen, the B1e, B2e and B2t chains of laminin, as well as the BM heparan sulfate proteoglycan core protein were all excluded in this Finnish family material. Since the defect is not in any of the genes coding for major components of BM, the identification of the gene defect will most probably reveal a new gene important for the development and function of the glomerular basement membrane.