Sjögren's syndrome is a multisystem inflammatory rheumatic disease that is classified into primary and secondary forms, with cardinal features in the eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) and mouth (xerostomia). The aetiology behind this autoimmune exocrinopathy is probably multifactorial and influenced by genetic as well as by environmental factors that are as yet unknown. A genetic predisposition to Sjögren's syndrome has been suggested on the basis of familial aggregation, animal models and candidate gene association studies. Recent advances in molecular and genetic methodologies should further our understanding of this complex disease. The present review synthesizes the current state of genetics in Sjögren's syndrome.