The 20210G-->A mutation in the 3'-untranslated (UT) region of the prothrombin gene is extremely rare or absent in the Chinese population (0 in 449 subjects, 140 with a history of thromboembolism). This is in contrast to the results from 302 Caucasians from Australia in our study (4.6% in 153 patients with a thromboembolic history and 1.3% in 149 patients with no history). This rarity implies that the variant of the prothrombin gene is probably not the main cause of venous thromboembolism in the Chinese population. Even among Caucasians this mutation accounts for only a minor percentage of all patients with thromboembolism. The relatively low incidence of venous thromboembolism in the Chinese population compared with Caucasians is probably as a result of the low prevalence of factor V Leiden or other environmental or genetic factors.