The rat strain COP is resistant to spontaneous and carcinogen-induced mammary cancer, whereas the strain WF is susceptible. Using genetic linkage analysis of (WF x COP) F1 x WF backcrosses, LC Hsu, LA Shepel and co-workers showed that a region at the centromeric end of Chromosome (Chr) 2 (2q1) segregates with the sensitivity to mammary cancer development. The responsible locus was named Mcs1 (for mammary cancer susceptibility 1). We have developed the chromosome map of the 2q1 region by localizing 18 genes, 4 ESTs, and several anonymous markers, using radiation hybrids and fluorescence in situ hybridization. The region containing Mcs1 was delineated to 2q12-q14. Five of the genes (Mef2c, Map1b, Ccnh, Rasa, Rasgrf2) were assigned to this region and were shown to be expressed in the rat mammary glands, while three possible functional candidate genes, Pi3kr1, Rad17, and Naip, were excluded from the critical region. Since cyclin H, encoded by Ccnh, plays an important role in the control of the cell cycle and since the proteins encoded by Rasa and Rasgrf2 control the activity of the RAS oncoprotein, the corresponding genes appeared as both functional and positional Mcs1 candidates. RT-PCR experiments on RNA extracted from mammary glands of the two rat strains (COP, WF) was done. No amino acid sequence difference was found between the two strains. These results argue against the hypothesis that any of these three genes is Mcs1.