The presence of DQA and DQB alleles conferring protection or susceptibility was assessed in a panel of 39 insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients and 39 healthy control subjects from the central highland of Ethiopia. The results were grouped into three entities: a combination of alleles conferring susceptibility, a group conferring protection, and a group without any apparent HLA-DQ or -DR predisposition to insulin-dependent (type 1) diabetes mellitus (IDDM). Statistical analysis revealed that the relative risk of the first group is 64.1. If a similar approach is applied to the data on a study in caucasoid IDDM patients and controls of Kahlil and colleagues, the pattern is fully consistent with the data presented here, with an extraordinarily high relative risk (RR 258.2). It will be of interest to study whether this subdivision is reflected or supported by clinical or etiologic differences of the disease. The predictive value of susceptibility phenotypes appears to be more accurate by the proposed subdivision. Furthermore, in combination with islet-cell antibody analysis, assessment of genotype will permit more accurate identification of prediabetic individuals to be entered in clinical trials.