This study describes a new approach to the determination of all known mannan-binding lectin (MBL) mutations. The distribution of known variants of the MBL gene in a population of healthy unrelated Danes was determined and the genotype was correlated with the plasma MBL concentrations. The following genetic polymorphisms were studied: three point mutations in the promoter region at position -550 (H/L variants), -221 (X/Y variants), -70 (nt C or T), one point mutation in the 5' untranslated (UT) region at position +4 (P/Q variants) and three point mutations located at codons 52, 54 and 57 in exon 1 of the MBL gene, at nucleotide positions 223, 230 and 239, respectively. To perform genotyping, we designed sequence specific primers for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR-SSP). PCR-SSP is a powerful technique for the discrimination of alleles resulting from single base substitutions and is a widely used technique. Another major advantage of the PCR-SSP method is its ability to determine whether sequence motifs are in cis or trans. The frequencies of variants in exon 1 obtained by PCR-SSP were completely comparable to results obtained by previously described PCR methods, restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and site-directed mutagenesis (SDM). This PCR-SSP method is performed with standard laboratory equipment and has the capacity to detect all genetic variants in 100 samples in 2 days at an estimated total cost of GBP 11 per sample. Analysing the correlation between MBL haplotype and plasma MBL levels, we confirmed that three different structural variants, B, C and D and the promoter haplotypes HY, LY and LX have a dominant effect on the concentration of MBL. The HY haplotype is associated with the highest plasma concentration, the LY haplotype with intermediate levels and the LX haplotype with the lowest levels. The LX haplotype was found to be associated with very low levels of MBL similar to those found in association with the structural B genotype. The gene frequencies of variants in the MBL gene in the Danish population studied correspond to previous reports on Caucasian populations.