We recently described mutations of the neuronal sodium-channel alpha-subunit gene, SCN1A, on chromosome 2q24 in two families with generalized epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+) type 2. To assess the contribution that SCN1A makes to other types of epilepsy, 226 patients with either juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, absence epilepsy, or febrile convulsions were screened by conformation-sensitive gel electrophoresis and manual sequencing of variants; the sample included 165 probands from multiplex families and 61 sporadic cases. The novel mutation W1204R was identified in a family with GEFS+. Seven other coding changes were observed; three of these are potential disease-causing mutations. Two common haplotypes, with frequencies of .67 and .33, were defined by five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning a 14-kb region of linkage disequilibrium. An SNP located 18 bp upstream of the splice-acceptor site for exon 3 was observed in 7 of the 226 patients but was not present in 185 controls, suggesting possible association with a disease mutation. This work has confirmed the role of SCN1A in GEFS+, by identification of a novel mutation in a previously undescribed family. Although a few candidate disease alleles were identified, the patient survey suggests that SCN1A is not a major contributor to idiopathic generalized epilepsy. The SCN1A haplotypes and SNPs identified here will be useful in future association and linkage studies.