We analyzed single-stranded conformational polymorphisms to screen for mutations and polymorphisms in the insulin receptor gene in subjects with or without insulin resistance. Using this new technique, we demonstrated the existence of mutations in the insulin receptor gene which we had identified previously. In addition, a new mutation was found in exon 20 of the insulin receptor gene in a patient with moderate insulin resistance associated with morbid obesity, acanthosis nigricans, and polycystic ovary syndrome. The patient was heterozygous for a mutation substituting Leu (CTG) for Pro (CCG) at codon 1178. Pro1178 is a part of a characteristic sequence motif (D1150 F1151 G1152---A1177 P1178 E1179) common to many protein kinases. Analysis of single-stranded conformational polymorphisms was also used to estimate the frequency of a polymorphism at codon 1058. The two codons CAC (1058 His) and CAT (1058 His) both had a prevalence of 50% in 30 Japanese subjects. These data demonstrate that analysis of single-stranded conformational polymorphisms is a simple and sensitive screening method for mutations and polymorphisms in the insulin receptor gene in subjects with or without insulin resistance. Identification of a mutation in the insulin receptor gene in a patient with a moderate degree of insulin resistance associated with morbid obesity suggests that insulin receptor mutations may exist in patients with Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus associated with a moderate degree of insulin resistance.