Hereditary pancreatitis (HP) is an autosomal dominant disorder with incomplete penetrance characterized by recurring episodes of severe abdominal pain often presenting in childhood. Although this disorder has only been recently described, about 100 families have been documented worldwide. The pathophysiology of this disorder is unknown. Here, a large French family of 147 individuals (47 of whom were affected) from a four-generation kindred with HP has been examined and a genome segregation analysis of highly informative microsatellite markers has been performed. Linkage has been found between HP and six chromosome 7q markers. Maximal two point lod scores between HP and D7S 640, D7S 495, D7S 684, D7S 661, D7S 676 and D7S 688 were 4.00 (theta = 0.143), 5.85 (theta = 0.143), 4.91 (theta = 0.156), 8.58 (theta = 0.077), 8.28 (theta = 0.060), 4.40 (theta = 0.169), respectively. Multipoint linkage data combined with recombinant haplotype analysis indicated that the most likely order is: D7S 640-D7S 495-D7S 684-D7S 661-D7S 676-D7S 688, with the HP gene situated in the underlined region. As in all families reported in the literature, the clinical presentation of the disease is identical to the presentation of sporadic cases, one could expect that the knowledge of the HP gene could be a clue to pancreatitis in general. Based on its map position, this is the first step towards the positional cloning of the Hereditary Pancreatitis Gene (HPG).