Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is a recessive disorder of inflammation caused by mutations in a gene (designated MEFV) on chromosome 16p13.3. We have recently constructed a 1-MB cosmid contig that includes the FMF critical region. Here we show genotype data for 12 markers from our physical map, including 5 newly identified microsatellites, in FMF families. Intrafamilial recombinations placed MEFV in the ~285 kb between D16S468/D16S3070 and D16S3376. We observed significant linkage disequilibrium in the North African Jewish population, and historical recombinants in the founder haplotype placed MEFV between D16S3082 and D16S3373 (~200 kb). In smaller panels of Iraqi Jewish, Arab, and Armenian families, there were significant allelic associations only for D16S3370 and D16S2617 among the Armenians. A sizable minority of Iraqi Jewish and Armenian carrier chromosomes appeared to be derived from the North African Jewish ancestral haplotype. We observed a unique FMF haplotype common to Iraqi Jews, Arabs, and Armenians and two other haplotypes restricted to either the Iraqi Jewish or the Armenian population. These data support the view that a few major mutations account for a large percentage of the cases of FMF and suggest that some of these mutations arose before the affected Middle Eastern populations diverged from one another.