A linkage between obesity-related phenotypes and the 2p21-23 locus has been reported previously. The urocortin (UCN) gene resides at this interval, and its protein decreases appetite behavior, suggesting that UCN may be a candidate gene for susceptibility to obesity. We localized the UCN gene by radiation hybrid mapping, and the surrounding markers were genotyped in a collection of French families. Evidence for linkage was shown between the marker D2S165 and leptin levels (LOD score, 1.34; P = 0.006) and between D2S2247 and the z-score of body mass index (LOD score, 1.829; P = 0.0019). The gene was screened for SNPs in 96 obese patients. Four new variants were established. Two single nucleotide polymorphisms were located in the promoter (-535 A-->G, -286 G-->A), one in intron 1 (+31 C-->G), and one in the 3'-untranslated region (+34 C-->T). Association studies in cohorts of 722 unrelated obese and 381 control subjects and transmission disequilibrium tests, performed for the two frequent promoter polymorphisms, in 120 families (894 individuals) showed that no association was present between these variants and obesity, obesity-related phenotypes, and diabetes. Thus, our analyses of the genetic variations of the UCN gene suggest that, at least in French Caucasians, they do not represent a major cause of obesity.