Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is an autosomal recessively inherited disease affecting patients of the Mediterranean basin. FMF is characterized by recurrent episodes of fever accompanied with topical signs of inflammation. Some patients can develop a renal amyloidosis associated (AA) amyloidosis. The administration of colchicine is an effective preventive treatment of both the attacks and amyloidosis. The FMF gene (MEFV) was cloned and missense mutations were found to be responsible for the disease. We investigated a large series of 303 unselected and unrelated patients of various ethnic backgrounds with a clinical suspicion of FMF to confirm or invalidate the diagnosis of FMF and to determine the spectrum of MEFV mutations. Molecular analysis focused on all the most frequent mutations identified so far, and an exhaustive analysis of exon 10, containing the mutational hotspot, was performed through DNA sequencing. Sixty-two percent of Sephardic, North African Arabs, Armenian and Turkish patients were either homozygous or compound heterozygous for MEFV mutations. In other populations surrounding the Mediterranean Sea such as Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Kurdish and Lebanese populations, mutations were also found. In general, patients without Mediterranean origin had no mutations in the MEFV gene. Two new mis-sense mutations were identified in exon 10 of the MEFV gene: the S675N in an Italian patient and the M680L in a French patient without any known at-risk ethnic ancestry.