Niemann-Pick type D (NPD) disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the accumulation of tissue cholesterol and sphingomyelin. This disorder is relatively common in southwestern Nova Scotia, because of a founder effect. Our previous studies, using classic linkage analysis of this large extended kindred, defined the critical gene region to a 13-cM chromosome segment between D18S40 and D18S66. A recently isolated gene from this region, NPC1, is mutated in the majority of patients with Niemann-Pick type C disease. We have identified a point mutation within this gene (G3097-->T; Gly992-->Trp) that shows complete linkage disequilibrium with NPD, confirming that NPD is an allelic variant of NPC1.