We investigated the RGS4 as a susceptibility gene for schizophrenia in Chinese Han (184 trios and 138 sibling pairs, a total of 322 families) and Scottish (580 cases and 620 controls) populations using both a family trio and case-control design. Both the samples had statistical power greater than 70% to detect a heterozygote genotype relative risk of >1.2 for frequent RGS4-risk alleles. We genotyped four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) which have previously been associated with schizophrenia as either individually or part of haplotypes. Allele frequencies and linkage disequilibrium between the SNPs was similar in the two populations. In the Chinese sample, no individual SNPs or any of their haplotypes were associated with schizophrenia. In the Scottish population, one SNP (SNP7) was significantly over-represented in the cases compared with the controls (0.44 vs. 0.38; A allele; chi(2) 7.08, P = 0.011 after correction for correlation between markers by permutation testing). One two-marker haplotype, composed of alleles T and A of SNP4 and SNP7, respectively, showed individual significance after correction by permutation testing (chi(2) 6.8; P = 0.04). None of the full four-marker haplotypes showed association, including the G-G-G-G haplotype previously associated with schizophrenia in more than one sample and the A-T-A-A haplotype. Thus, our data do not directly replicate previous associations of RGS4, but association with SNP 7 in the Scottish population provides some support for a role in schizophrenia susceptibility. We cannot conclusively exclude RGS4, as associated haplotypes are likely to be surrogates for unknown causative alleles, whose relationship with overlying haplotypes may differ between the population groups. Differences in the association seen across the two populations could result from methodological factors such as diagnostic differences but most likely result from ethnic differences in haplotype structures within RGS4.