Background: Previous studies have shown that in addition to environmental influences, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has a strong genetic component. The goal of the current study is to identify regions of linkage for T2DM in ethnically diverse populations. Methods: Phenotypic and genotypic data were obtained from African American (AA; total number of individuals [N] = 1004), American Indian (AI; N = 883), European American (EA; N = 537), and Mexican American (MA; N = 1634) individuals from the Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes. Non-parametric linkage analysis, using an average of 4404 SNPs, was performed in relative pairs affected with T2DM in each ethnic group. In addition, family-based tests were performed to detect association with T2DM. Results: Statistically significant evidence for linkage was observed on chromosome 4q21.1 (LOD = 3.13; genome-wide p = 0.04) in AA. In addition, a total of 11 regions showed suggestive evidence for linkage (estimated at LOD > 1.71), with the highest LOD scores on chromosomes 12q21.31 (LOD = 2.02) and 22q12.3 (LOD = 2.38) in AA, 2p11.1 (LOD = 2.23) in AI, 6p12.3 (LOD = 2.77) in EA, and 13q21.1 (LOD =. 2.24) in MA. While no region overlapped across all ethnic groups, at least five loci showing LOD >1.71 have been identified in previously published studies. Conclusions: The results from this study provide evidence for the presence of genes affecting T2DM on chromosomes 4q, 12q, and 22q in AA; 6p in EA; 2p in AI; and 13q in MA. The strong evidence for linkage on chromosome 4q in AA provides important information given the paucity of diabetes genetic studies in this population. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.