The bovine CSN1S1 5' flanking region (CSN1S1-5') was screened for polymorphisms in different cattle breeds. Single-strand conformation polymorphisms (SSCP) and sequence analyses revealed four alleles (1-4), two of them being new allelic forms (3 and 4). Sequences were deposited in GenBank with accession numbers AF549499-502. In alleles 1 and 4, potential transcription factor binding sites are altered by the mutations. Using SSCP analysis, all four alleles were identified in German Holsteins. Six intragenic haplo-types comprising CSN1S1-5' (alleles 1, 2, 3, 4) and exon 17 (CSN1S1*B and C) genotypes were found. Linkage mapping using half-sib families from the German QTL project positioned CSN1S1 between the markers FBN14 and CSN3, with 5.6 cM distance between CSN1S1 and CSN3. Variance analysis, using family and CSN1S1 promoter genotypes as fixed effects, of breeding values and deregressed proofs for milk production traits (milk, fat, and protein yield and also fat and protein percentage) revealed significant effects on protein percentage when all families and genotypes were considered. Contrast calculations assigned a highly significant effect to genotype 24, which was associated with highest LS-means for protein percentage breeding values. As CSN1S1 is one of the main caseins in milk, this could be an effect of mutations in regulatory elements in the promoter region. An effect on milk yield breeding values was indicated for genotype 12, but is probably caused by a linked locus.