This study reports the results of a multipoint linkage study that aims to unravel the genetic basis of muscle strength and muscle mass in humans. Myostatin (GDF8) is known to be a strong inhibitor of muscle growth in animals. However, studies examining human myostatin polymorphisms are rare and are limited to the GDF8 gene itself. Here, the contribution to isometric and concentric knee strength of nine key proteins involved in the myostatin pathway is studied in a nonparametric multipoint linkage analysis by means of a variance components and regression method. A sample of 367 healthy young male siblings was phenotyped on an isokinetic dynamometer and genotyped for markers of the myostatin pathway genes. Three of the loci were found significantly linked with a quantitative trait locus (QTL) for knee muscle strength. First, D13S1303 showed replication of an explorative single-point linkage study with a maximum LOD score of 2.7 (P = 0.0002). Second, maximum LOD scores of 3.4 (P = 0.00004) and 3.3 (P = 0.00005) were observed for markers D12S1042 and D12S85, respectively, at 12q12-14. Finally, marker D12S78 showed an LOD score of 2.7 at 12q22-23. We conclude that several genes involved in the myostatin pathway, but not the myostatin gene itself, are important QTLs for human muscle strength. An additional set of valuable candidate genes that were not part of the myostatin pathway was found in the chromosome 12 and 13 genomic regions.