Nephrotic syndrome (NS) is a renal disease characterized by heavy proteinuria, hypoalbuminemia, edema and hyperlipidemia. Its presentation within the first 3 months of life or in multiple family members suggests an underlying inherited cause. To determine the frequency of inherited NS, 62 cases (representing 49 families with NS) from Saudi Arabia were screened for mutations in NPHS1, NPHS2, LAMB2, PLCE1, CD2AP, MYO1E, WT1, PTPRO and Nei endonuclease VIII-like 1 (NEIL1). We detected likely causative mutations in 25 out of 49 families studied (51%). We found that the most common genetic cause of NS in our cohort was a homozygous mutation in the NPHS2 gene, found in 11 of the 49 families (22%). Mutations in the NPHS1 and PLCE1 genes allowed a molecular genetic diagnosis in 12% and 8% of families, respectively. We detected novel MYO1E mutations in three families (6%). No mutations were found in WT1, PTPRO or NEIL1. The pathogenicity of novel variants was analyzed by in silico tests and by genetic screening of ethnically matched control populations. This is the first report describing the molecular genetics of NS in the Arabian Peninsula.