We obtained evidence from a large study in Dutch twins (N = 8387) and siblings (N = 2295) that variation in loneliness has a genetic component. The heritability estimate for loneliness, which was assessed as an ordinal trait, was 40% and did not differ between males and females. There were 682 sibling pairs with genotypic (around 400 microsatellite markers) data. We combined phenotypic and genotypic data to carry out a genome scan to localize QTLs for loneliness. One region on chromosome 12q23.3-24.3, showed near suggestive linkage. Genetic association tests within this region revealed significant association (p-value 0.009) with one of the alleles of marker D12S79 and with one of the alleles of neighbouring marker D12S395 (p-value 0.043). We review evidence for linkage in this region for psychiatric disorders and discuss our findings within this context. © 2006 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.