Loss of the short arm of chromosome 1 is frequently observed in many tumor types, including melanoma. We recently localized a third melanoma susceptibility locus to chromosome band 1p22. Critical recombinants in linked families localized the gene to a 15-Mb region between DIS430 and DIS2664. To map the locus more finely we have performed studies to assess allelic loss across the region in a panel of melanomas from 1p22-linked families, sporadic melanomas, and melanoma cell lines. Eighty percent of familial melanomas exhibited loss of heterozygosity (LOH) within the region, with a smallest region of overlapping deletions (SRO) of 9 Mb between DIS207 and DIS435. This high frequency of LOH makes it very likely that the susceptibility locus is a tumor suppressor. In sporadic tumors, four SROs were defined. SRO1 and SRO2 map within the critical recombinant and familial tumor region, indicating that one or the other is likely to harbor the susceptibility gene. However, SRO3 may also be significant because it overlaps with the markers with the highest 2-point LOD score (DIS2776), part of the linkage recombinant region, and the critical region defined in mesothelioma. The candidate genes PRKCL2 and GTF2B, within SRO2, and TGFBR3, CDCT, and EVI5, in a broad region encompassing SRO3, were screened in 1p22-linked melanoma kindreds, but no coding mutations were detected. Allelic loss in melanoma cell lines was significantly less frequent than in fresh tumors, indicating that this gene may not be involved late in progression, such as in overriding cellular senescence, necessary for the propagation of melanoma cells in culture.