A pharmacogenetic syndrome caused by molecular defects in the dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase gene (DPYD ) results in partial to complete loss of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) enzyme activity with patients exhibiting life-threatening toxicity following administration of routine doses of 5-fluorouracil. To date, more than 19 reported mutations have been putatively associated with DPD deficiency with 16 occurring within the open reading frame of the cDNA. The purpose of this study was to examine the conservation of functional domains (including the uracil, flavine adenine dinucleotide and NADPH binding sites) across three phyla (Chordata, Arthropoda and Nematoda) and the conservation of regions corresponding to the previously reported mutations. Comparative analysis of the uracil and NADPH binding sites in mammals and invertebrates demonstrated 100% amino acid identity between mammals and Drosophila melanogaster. Caenorhabditis elegans demonstrated 89% and 88% identity in these domains, respectively. The mammalian sequences demonstrated 100% identity in two iron sulphur motifs (amino acids 953-964 and 986-997) with significant conservation in D. melanogaster (92% and 92% identity, respectively) and C. elegans (100% and 92% identity, respectively). Comparative amino acid analysis revealed non-conservation in the loci of four DPYD mutations [DPYD*12 (R21Q), DPYD*5 (I543V), DPYD*6 (V732I), DPYD*9A (C29R)]. Seven mutations occurred in highly conserved regions [M166V, DPYD*8 (R235W), DPYD*11 (V335l), DPYD*4 (S534N), DPYD*9B (R886H), D949V, DPYD*10 (V995F)]. In summary, this comparative analysis identified conserved regions which may be critical to enzyme structure and/or function. The conservation of loci where DPYD mutations occur was also examined to evaluate their functional significance on DPD enzyme activity. These data should prove useful in the evaluation of newly discovered mutations in the DPYD gene.