Autosomal dominant inheritance of thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections occurs in subjects with Marfan syndrome, which results from mutations in the FBN1 gene on chromosome 15. A second chromosomal locus on 3p24-25 has been identified for a Marfan-like condition with thoracic aortic aneurysms. We describe here 6 families with multiple members with thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections in the absence of the ocular and skeletal complications of Marfan syndrome. Medical records and autopsy reports on affected subjects in families with multiple members with thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections were reviewed. Subjects in these families at risk for developing aortic disease underwent echocardiography to evaluate the aorta. The pattern of inheritance of thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections was autosomal dominant in these families. Most affected subjects presented with aortic root dilatation or acute type I dissection, but the age of onset of disease was variable and there was decreased penetrance of the disorder. In 2 of the families, the syndrome was not linked to FBN1 or 3p24-25. Familial thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection is an autosomal dominant condition with marked variability in the age of onset of aortic disease and decreased penetrance, making identification of affected subjects difficult. This condition is not due to mutations in the FBN1 gene or the unidentified gene on 3p24-25.