The aim of this study was to identify the chromosomal location of the disease-causing gene in a family apparently segregating X-linked optic atrophy. A large family of 45 individuals with a four-generation history of X-linked optic atrophy was reexamined in a full ophthalmic as well as electrophysiological examination. A DNA linkage analysis of the family was undertaken in order to identify the chromosomal location of the disease-causing gene. Linkage analysis was performed with 26 markers that spanned the entire X chromosome. The affected males showed very early onset and slow progression of the disease. Ophthalmic study of the female carriers did not reveal any abnormalities. Close linkage without recombination was found at the MAOB locus (maximum LOD score [Zmax] 4.19). The Zmax - 1 support interval was found at a recombination fraction of .076 distal and .018 proximal to MAOB. Multipoint linkage analysis placed the optic atrophy-causing gene in the Xp11.4-p11.21 interval between markers DXS993 and DXS991, whereas any other localization along the X chromosome could be excluded.