Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF) is the prototype of a group of inherited inflammatory disorders. The gene (MEFV) responsible for this disease, comprises 10 exons and 781 codons. Twenty-nine mutations, most located in the last exon, have been identified so far. It is unclear whether all are true disease-causing mutations. Five founder mutations, V726A, M694V, M694I, M680I and E148Q account for 74% of FMF chromosomes from typical cases (Armenians, Arabs, Jews, and Turks). Rare mutations are preferentially found in populations not usually affected by FMF (eg Europeans not from the above ancestries). The various combinations of MEFV mutations define severe to mild genotypes. The trend is that genotypes including two mutations located within mutational 'hot-spots' (codons 680 or 694) of the gene are associated with severe phenotypes, whereas mild phenotypes are associated with some other mutations, E148Q being the mildest and least penetrant. Understanding the correlation between the FMF phenotype and genotype is further obscured by the existence of complex alleles, modifier loci, genetic heterogeneity and possible epigenetic factors. Additionally, mutations in the MEFV gene are thought to be involved in non FMF disorders. Carrier rates for FMF mutations may be as high as 1:3 in some populations, suggesting that the disease is underdiagnosed. This review update emphasises that both clinical and genetic features are to be taken into account for patient diagnosis, colchicine treatment and prognosis.