Usher syndrome types I (USH1A-USH1E) are a group of autosomal recessive diseases characterized by profound congenital hearing loss, vestibular areflexia, and progressive visual loss due to retinitis pigmentosa. The human myosin VIIA gene, located on 11q14, has been shown to be responsible for Usher syndrome type 1B (USH1B). Haplotypes were constructed in 28 USH1 families by use of the following polymorphic markers spanning the USH1B locus: D11S787, D11S527, D11S1789, D11S906, D11S4186, and OMP. Affected individuals and members of their families from 12 different ethnic origins were screened for the presence of mutations in all 49 exons of the myosin VIIA gene. In 15 families myosin VIIA mutations were detected, verifying their classification as USH1B. All these mutations are novel, including three missense mutations, one premature stop codon, two splicing mutations, one frameshift, and one deletion of >2 kb comprising exons 47 and 48, a part of exon 49, and the introns between them. Three mutations were shared by more than one family, consistent with haplotype similarities. Altogether, 16 USH1B haplotypes were observed in the 15 families; most haplotypes were population specific. Several exonic and intronic polymorphisms were also detected. None of the 20 known USH1B mutations reported so far in other world populations were identified in our families.