Interleukin-10 (IL-10) is a cytokine that seems to function as a downregulator of the innate (nonadaptive) immune system. Approximately three-quarters of interindividual variability in human IL-10 levels has been attributed to genetic variation, and there is evidence suggesting a potential role for IL-10 in a range of human diseases. To provide a basis for haplotype analysis and future disease association studies, we characterized genetic variation in IL10 by sequencing all exons, and 2.5 kb of the 5'- and the 3'-flanking region in a panel of DNA samples from 24 African Americans, 23 European Americans, and 24 Hispanic Americans. The region sequenced was found to contain 28 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), 16 with frequency >2% and 14 with frequency >5%. All SNPs with frequency >5% were present in subjects from all three populations. No SNP caused amino acid changes. Differences in pairwise linkage-disequilibrium (LD) patterns and in SNP and haplotype frequency distributions among the three populations may be of potential importance for disease association studies.