The hereditary spastic ataxias (HSA) are a group of clinically heterogeneous neurodegenerative disorders characterized by lower-limb spasticity and generalized ataxia. HSA was diagnosed in three unrelated autosomal dominant families from Newfoundland, who presented mainly with severe leg spasticity, dysarthria, dysphagia, and ocular-movement abnormalities. A genomewide scan was performed on one family, and linkage to a novel locus for HSA on chromosome 12p13, which contains the as-yet-unidentified gene locus SAX1, was identified. Fine mapping confirmed linkage in the two large families, and the third, smaller family showed LOD scores suggestive of linkage. Haplotype construction by use of 13 polymorphic markers revealed that all three families share a disease haplotype, which key recombinants and overlapping haplotypes refine to about 5 cM, flanked by markers D12S93 and GATA151H05. SAX1 is the first locus mapped for autosomal dominant HSA.