A susceptibility gene on chromosome 18 and a parent-of-origin effect have been suggested for bipolar affective disorder (BPAD). We have studied 28 nuclear families selected for apparent unilineal transmission of the BPAD phenotype, by using 31 polymorphic markers spanning chromosome 18. Evidence for linkage was tested with affected-sib-pair and LOD score methods under two definitions of the affected phenotype. The affected-sibpair analyses indicated excess allele sharing for markers on 18p within the region reported previously. The greatest sharing was at D18S37: 64% in bipolar and recurrent unipolar (RUP) sib pairs (P = .0006). In addition, excess sharing of the paternally, but not maternally, transmitted alleles was observed at three markers on 18q: at D18S41, 51 bipolar and RUP sib pairs were concordant for paternally transmitted alleles, and 21 pairs were discordant (P = 0004). The evidence for linkage to loci on both 18p and 18q was strongest in the 11 paternal pedigrees, i.e., those in which the father or one of the father's sibs is affected. In these pedigrees, the greatest allele sharing (81%; P = .00002) and the highest LOD score (3.51; phi = 0.0) were observed at D18S41. Our results provide further support for linkage of BPAD to chromosome 18 and the first molecular evidence for a parent-of-origin effect operating in this disorder. The number of loci involved, and their precise location, require further study..