Wilms' tumour (WT) is one of the most common solid tumours of childhood, occurring in 1 in 10,000 children and accounting for 8% of childhood cancers. It is believed to result from malignant transformation of abnormally persistent renal stem cells (nephrogenic rests) which retain embryonic differentiation potential. Although WT is usually sporadic, approximately one percent occur in families in which susceptibility appears to be inherited as an autosomal dominant trait with incomplete penetrance. Predisposition to other cancers or to the developmental abnormalities associated with sporadic WT is not usually apparent in WT families. The WT1 gene at 11p13 (ref.2), and additional genes on chromosomes 11p15 (ref. 3) and 16q (ref. 4) have been implicated in the development of WT but are not responsible for familial WT. We have carried out a genome linkage search in a large Canadian family with seven confirmed cases of WT. Our results provide strong evidence for the localisation of a familial WT predisposition gene, FWT1, to an 18-centimorgan (cM) interval on chromosome 17q12-q21.