Mutation scanning and direct DNA sequencing of all 50 exons of ABCR were completed for 150 families segregating recessive Stargardt disease (STGD1). ABCR variations were identified in 173 (57%) disease chromosomes, the majority of which represent missense amino acid substitutions. These ABCR variants were not found in 220 unaffected control individuals (440 chromosomes) but do cosegregate with the disease in these families with STGD1, and many occur in conserved functional domains. Missense amino acid substitutions located in the amino terminal one-third of the protein appear to be associated with earlier onset of the disease and may represent misfolding alleles. The two most common mutant alleles, G1961E and A1038V, each identified in 16 of 173 disease chromosomes, composed 18.5% of mutations identified. G1961E has been associated previously, at a statistically significant level in the heterozygous state, with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Clinical evaluation of these 150 families with STGD1 revealed a high frequency of AMD in first- and second-degree relatives. These findings support the hypothesis that compound heterozygous ABCR mutations are responsible for STGD1 and that some heterozygous ABCR mutations may enhance susceptibility to AMD.