Bidirectional (anterograde and retrograde) motor-based intraflagellar transport (IFT) governs cargo transport and delivery processes that are essential for primary cilia growth and maintenance and for hedgehog signaling functions. The IFT dynein-2 motor complex that regulates ciliary retrograde protein transport contains a heavy chain dynein ATPase/motor subunit, DYNC2H1, along with other less well functionally defined subunits. Deficiency of IFT proteins, including DYNC2H1, underlies a spectrum of skeletal ciliopathies. Here, by using exome sequencing and a targeted next-generation sequencing panel, we identified a total of 11 mutations in WDR34 in 9 families with the clinical diagnosis of Jeune syndrome (asphyxiating thoracic dystrophy). WDR34 encodes a WD40 repeat-containing protein orthologous to Chlamydomonas FAP133, a dynein intermediate chain associated with the retrograde intraflagellar transport motor. Three-dimensional protein modeling suggests that the identified mutations all affect residues critical for WDR34 protein-protein interactions. We find that WDR34 concentrates around the centrioles and basal bodies in mammalian cells, also showing axonemal staining. WDR34 coimmunoprecipitates with the dynein-1 light chain DYNLL1 in vitro, and mining of proteomics data suggests that WDR34 could represent a previously unrecognized link between the cytoplasmic dynein-1 and IFT dynein-2 motors. Together, these data show that WDR34 is critical for ciliary functions essential to normal development and survival, most probably as a previously unrecognized component of the mammalian dynein-IFT machinery.