Sixty-two cases with retinitis pigmentosa from 42 index families were investigated to reveal the genetic features of the disease in Turkey. There were 42 propositi of whom 5 had a systemic syndrome associated with retinitis pigmentosa. Of the remaining 37 cases the condition was autosomal recessive in 21 (56.8%), sporadic in 12 (32.4%), autosomal dominant in 3 (8.1%) and X-linked recessive in one (2.7%). Sporadic cases may be more frequent as many hereditary cases are not brought to medical attention in rural families. Male preponderance among sporadic cases may indicate that there may be more X-linked cases. Nine out of 21 cases initially classified as sporadic displayed parental consanguinity and they were included as having autosomal recessive trait. Large families with autosomal recessive inheritance may prove valuable in linkage analysis and in defining future gene abnormalities.