Seventy-seven healthy Ethiopians were genotyped for polymorphisms in the immunoglobulin G Fc receptors (FcgammaR) FcgammaRIIa, FcgammaRIIIa and FcgammaRIIIb, including the SH allele. The genotype and allele frequencies were compared with those of 96 healthy Norwegians. Ethiopians had higher frequencies of the SH-FcgammaRIIIb (P = 0.001), FcgammaRIIIa-158 V (P = 0.026) and FcgammaRIIIb-Na2 (P = 0.046) alleles. The genotype distributions of FcgammaRIIa, FcgammaRIIIa and FcgammaRIIIb, however, did not differ significantly from those of the Norwegians. The data were also compared with those reported from studies on other ethnic groups. The variation of different polymorphisms both within and between ethnic groups may influence differences in the incidence rates of infectious and autoimmune diseases.