We describe a large pedigree of individuals with autosomal dominant atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD). The pedigree includes affected individuals and individuals who have transmitted the defect but are not clinically affected. AVSDs are a rare congenital heart malformation that occurs as only 2.8% of isolated cardiac lesions. They are the predominant heart defect in children with Down syndrome, making chromosome 21 a candidate for genes involved in atrioventricular septal development. We have carried out a linkage study in the pedigree by using 10 simple-sequence polymorphisms from chromosome 21. Multipoint linkage analysis gives lod scores of less than -2 for the region of trisomy 21 associated with heart defects, which excludes a locus within this region as the cause of the defect in this family.