The short-rib polydactyly (SRP) syndromes are a heterogeneous group of perinatal lethal skeletal disorders with polydactyly and multisystem organ abnormalities. Homozygosity by descent mapping in a consanguineous SRP family identified a genomic region that contained DYNC2H1, a cytoplasmic dynein involved in retrograde transport in the cilium. Affected individuals in the family were homozygous for an exon 12 missense mutation that predicted the amino acid substitution R587C. Compound heterozygosity for one missense and one null mutation was identified in two additional nonconsanguineous SRP families. Cultured chondrocytes from affected individuals showed morphologically abnormal, shortened cilia. In addition, the chondrocytes showed abnormal cytoskeletal microtubule architecture, implicating an altered microtubule network as part of the disease process. These findings establish SRP as a cilia disorder and demonstrate that DYNC2H1 is essential for skeletogenesis and growth.