The cDNA for ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), a polypeptide involved in the survival of motoneurons in mammals, has recently been cloned (Stöckli et al., Nature, 342, 920–923, 1989; Lin et al Science, 246, 1023–1025, 1989). We have now localized the corresponding gene Cntf to chromosome 19 in the mouse, using an interspecific cross between Mus spretus and Mus musculus domesticus. The latter was carrying the gene wobbler (wr) for spinal muscular atrophy. DNA was prepared from backcross individuals and typed for the segregation of species-specific Cntf restriction fragments in relation to DNA markers of known chromosomal location. The M.spretus allele of Cntf cosegregated with chromosome 19 markers and mapped closely to Ly-1 to a region of mouse chromosome 19 with conserved synteny to human chromosome 11q. Cntf is not linked to wr, and the expression of CNTF mRNA and protein appears close to normal in facial and sciatic nerves of affected (wr/wr) mice, suggesting that motoneuron degeneration of wobbler mice has its origin in defects other than reduced CNTF expression.