Background: Mutations in the peripherin/retinal degeneration slow (RDS gene have been identified in patients with retinitis pigmentosa and pattern macular dystrophy. The authors initially examined a large family affected with both peripheral and macular degeneration, inherited as an autosomal dominant trait. Screening for peripherin/RDS mutations identified a previously unreported nucleotide alteration in all of the affected individuals. Two additional families later were found to have this same mutation. Methods: DNA samples from the members of three unrelated families were screened for peripherin/RDS mutations by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of the polymerase chain reaction-amplified peripherin/RDS coding sequences. The sequence change that was detected was further characterized by DNA sequencing. Family members were examined and evaluated with psychophysical and electrophysiologic methods. Results: A proline to arginine mutation in codon 210 of peripherin/RDS was found in all clinically affected individuals. Macular changes included extensive geographic atrophy, pigment epithelial changes, and/or drusen. The proline to arginine mutation was not found among 100 healthy individuals, making it unlikely to be a nondisease-causing polymorphism. Conclusions: The authors identified a novel peripherin/RDS gene mutation associated with autosomal dominant retinal degeneration in patients from three different families. The largest family showed a broad variability in the expressivity of the mutation. The overlap of clinical features with those of age-related maculopathy highlights the need to consider photoreceptor-specific genes as potential factors in the etiology of the latter condition.