The extent to which genetic susceptibility contributes to the causation of childhood acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is not known. The inherited bone marrow failure disorder Fanconi anaemia (FA) carries a substantially increased risk of AML, raising the possibility that constitutional variation in the FA (FANC) genes is involved in the aetiology of childhood AML. We have screened genomic DNA extracted from remission blood samples of 97 children with sporadic AML and 91 children with sporadic acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), together with 104 cord blood DNA samples from newborn children, for variations in the Fanconi anaemia group C (FANCC) gene. We found no evidence of known FANCC pathogenic mutations in children with AML, ALL or in the cord blood samples. However, we detected 12 different FANCC sequence variants, of which five were novel to this study. Among six FANCC variants leading to amino-acid substitutions, one (S26F) was present at a fourfold greater frequency in children with AML than in the cord blood samples (odds ratio: 4.09, P = 0.047; 95% confidence interval 1.08-15.54). Our results thus do not exclude the possibility that this polymorphic variant contributes to the risk of a small proportion of childhood AML.