8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase 1 (OGG1) is a DNA repair enzyme that excises 7,8-dihydro-8-oxoguanine (8oxoG) from DNA. Since 8oxoG is a highly mispairing lesion, decreased OGG1 expression level could lead to a higher background mutation frequency and could possibly increase the cancer risk of an individual under oxidative stress. In order to analyse the natural variation of OGG1, we measured the DNA repair activity in human lymphocytes of healthy individuals by means of an 8oxoG-containing oligonucleotide assay. The data obtained revealed a two fold interindividual variation of OGG1 activity in lymphocytes. There was no difference in OGG1 activity due to gender and smoking behaviour. Transcriptional analyses of OGG1 showed the expression of two isoforms, 1a and b, in lymphocytes. Structural analysis of the human OGG1 (hOGG1) gene revealed a Ser326/Cys326 polymorphism in the Caucasian population with allele frequencies of 75% for Ser326 and 25% for Cys326. This polymorphism was not associated with altered OGG1 activity. The described routine test system for measuring OGG1 activity in cryopreserved lymphocytes provided highly reproducible results and is a useful tool for risk assessment associated with alterations in the repair of oxidative DNA damage.