Isofocusing and immunoblotting of reduced serum samples identify the common haptoglobin alpha-chain variants 1S, 1F, 2FS, 2SS, 2FF, 3, as well as several rare alpha- and beta-chain variants. The gene frequencies found in 6,668 unrelated persons involved in Norwegian paternity cases were: HP*1S: 0.22, HP*1F: 0.16, HP*2FS: 0.58, HP*2SS: 0.04, HP*2FF: 0.004, HP*3: 0.0004, other HP* alpha variants: 0.0004, HP* beta variants: 0.0008. The corresponding gene frequencies in 153 unrelated Norwegian Saamis (Lapps) were: HP*1S: 0.19, HP*1F: 0.07, HP*2FS: 0.70, HP*2SS: 0.04. Norwegians and Norwegian Saamis differed both in phenotype and allele distribution. An earlier Norwegian population study has shown a lower HP*1 frequency in the north than in the south. This regional difference in haptoglobin gene distribution was reflected in the present material as a lower 1F frequency, indicating a Saamish influence in northern Norway. Furthermore, the relatively low 2FF frequency in the north coincides with the lack of observed 2FF genes in the Saamish population. Non-Scandinavians involved in Norwegian paternity cases did not differ from the rest of the material. A review of published haptoglobin gene frequencies shows the 1F frequency to be a good indicator of ethnic origin, and that 2FF and 2SS frequency determinations may also be valuable in genetic population studies.