Severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID) consists of a group of heterogeneous genetic disorders. The most severe phenotype, T-B- SCID, is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait and is characterized by a profound deficiency of both T cell and B cell immunity. There is a uniquely high frequency of T-B- SCID among Athabascan-speaking Native Americans (A-SCID). To localize the A-SCID gene, we conducted a genomewide search, using linkage analysis of approximately 300 microsatellite markers in 14 affected Athabascan-speaking Native American families. We obtained conclusive evidence for linkage of the A-SCID locus to markers on chromosome 10p. The maximum pairwise LOD scores 4.53 and 4.60 were obtained from two adjacent markers, D10S191 and D10S1653, respectively, at a recombination fraction of straight theta=.00. Recombination events placed the gene in an interval of approximately 6.5 cM flanked by D10S1664 and D10S674. Multipoint analysis positioned the gene for the A-SCID phenotype between D10S191 and D10S1653, with a peak LOD score of 5.10 at D10S191. Strong linkage disequilibrium was found in five linked markers spanning approximately 6.5 cM in the candidate region, suggesting a founder effect with an ancestral mutation that occurred sometime before 1300 A.D.