The gene for autosomal recessive forms of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) has recently been mapped to chromosome 5q13, within a 4-cM region between the blocks D5S465/D5S125 and MAP-1B/D5S112. We identified two new highly polymorphic microsatellite DNA markers--namely, AFM265wf5 (D5S629) and AFM281yh9 (D5S637)--which are the closest markers to the SMA locus. Multilocus analysis by the location-score method was used to establish the best estimate of the SMA gene location. Our data suggest that the most likely location for SMA is between locus D5S629 and the block D5S637/D5S351/MAP-1B/D5S112/D5S357. Genetic analysis of inbred SMA families, based on homozygosity by descent and physical mapping using mega-YACs, gave additional information for the loci order as follows: cen-D5S6-D5S125/D5S465-D5S435-D5S629-SMA-+ ++D5S637-D5S351-MAP-1B/D5S112-D5S357- D5S39-tel. These data give the direction for bidirectional walking in order to clone this interval and isolate the SMA gene.