In this study, we assess exome sequencing (ES) as a diagnostic alternative for genetically heterogeneous disorders. Because ES readily identified a previously reported homozygous mutation in the CAPN3 gene for an individual with an undiagnosed limb girdle muscular dystrophy, we evaluated ES as a generalizable clinical diagnostic tool by assessing the targeting efficiency and sequencing coverage of 88 genes associated with muscle disease (MD) and spastic paraplegia (SPG). We used three exome-capture kits on 125 individuals. Exons constituting each gene were defined using the UCSC and CCDS databases. The three exome-capture kits targeted 47–92% of bases within the UCSC-defined exons and 97–99% of bases within the CCDS-defined exons. An average of 61.2–99.5% and 19.1–99.5% of targeted bases per gene were sequenced to 20X coverage within the CCDS-defined MD and SPG coding exons, respectively. Greater than 95–99% of targeted known mutation positions were sequenced to ≥1X coverage and 55–87% to ≥20X coverage in every exome. We conclude, therefore, that ES is a rapid and efficient first-tier method to screen for mutations, particularly within the CCDS annotated exons, although its application requires disclosure of the extent of coverage for each targeted gene and supplementation with second-tier Sanger sequencing for full coverage. Hum Mutat 33:614–626, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.