We have compared nucleotide substitutions and polymorphisms at codons known to confer drug resistance in subtype B strains of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) with similar substitutions in viruses of other subtypes. Genotypic analysis was performed on viruses from untreated individuals. Nucleotide and amino acid diversity at resistance sites was compared with a consensus subtype B reference virus. Among patients with non-subtype B infections, polymorphisms relative to subtype B were observed at codon 10 in protease (PR). These included silent substitutions (CTC-->CTT, CTA, TTA) and an amino acid mutation, L10I. Subtype A viruses possessed a V179I substitution in reverse transcriptase (RT). Subtype G viruses were identified by silent substitutions at codon 181 in RT (TAT-->TAC). Similarly, subtype A/G viruses were identified by a substitution at position 67 in RT (GAC-->GAT). Subtype C was distinguished by silent substitutions at codons 106 (GTA-->GTG) and 219 (AAA-->AAG) in RT and codon 48 (GGG-->GGA) in PR. Variations relative to subtype B were seen at RT position 215 (ACC-->ACT) for subtypes A and A/E. These substitutions and polymorphisms reflect different patterns of codon usage among viruses of different subtypes. However, the existence of different subtypes may only rarely affect patterns of drug resistance-associated mutations.