Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD) is an autosomal dominant muscular dystrophy characterized by late onset ptosis, proximal muscle weakness and swallowing difficulties. This disease has been recently linked to chromosome 14q11.2-q13 in French-Canadian pedigrees. We studied three unrelated American families with OPMD of Hispanic descent and our results indicate that in this ethnic group, this disease also maps to chromosome 14q11.2-q13 (marker MYH7.24; Zmax = 3.98; θmax = 0). These results represent an independent demonstration of disease linkage in a second distinct ethnic group. Furthermore, our analysis demonstrates a unique haplotype that is shared by affected individuals from all three families suggesting a founder effect for OPMD in this population. Meiotic recombinants and radiation hybrid mapping permit the narrowing of the critical region to 1 Mb which will facilitate positional cloning of the OPMD disease gene.