The Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome (JLNS) comprises profound congenital sensorineural deafness associated with syncopal episodes. These are caused by ventricular arrhythmias secondary to abnormal repolarisation, manifested by a prolonged QT interval on the electrocardiogram. Recently, in families with JLNS, Neyroud et al. reported homozygosity for a single mutation in KVLQT1 , a gene which has previously been shown to be mutated in families with dominantly inherited isolated long QT syndrome [Neyroud et al . (1997) Nature Genet ., 15, 186-189]. We have analysed a group of families with JLNS and shown that the majority are consistent with mutation at this locus: five families of differing ethnic backgrounds were homozygous by descent for markers close to the KVLQT1 gene and a further three families from the same geographical region were shown to be homozygous for a common haplotype and to have the same homozygous mutation of the KVLQT1 gene. However, analysis of a single small consanguineous family excluded linkage to the KVLQT1 gene, establishing genetic heterogeneity in JLNS. The affected children in this family were homozygous by descent for markers on chromosome 21, in a region containing the gene IsK . This codes for a transmembrane protein known to associate with KVLQT1 to form the slow component of the delayed rectifier potassium channel. Sequencing of the affected boys showed a homozygous mutation, demonstrating that mutation in the IsK gene may be a rare cause of JLNS and that an indistinguishable phenotype can arise from mutations in either of the two interacting molecules.