Mutations in the creatine transporter gene, SLC6A8 (MIM 30036), located in Xq28, have been found in families with X-linked mental retardation (XLMR) as well as in males with idiopathic mental retardation (MR). In order to estimate the frequency of such mutations in the MR population, a screening of 478 males with MR of unknown cause was undertaken. All 13 exons of SLC6A8 were sequenced using genomic DNA. Six novel potentially pathogenic mutations were identified that were not encountered in at least 588 male control chromosomes: two deletions (p.Asn336del, p.Ile347del) and a splice site alteration (c.1016+2C>T) are considered pathogenic based on the nature of the variant. A mutation (p.Arg391Trp) should be considered pathogenic owing to its localization in a highly conserved region. Two other missense variants (p.Lys4Arg, p.Gly26Arg) are not conserved but were not observed in over 300 male control chromosomes. Their pathogenicity is uncertain. A missense variant (p.Val182Met), was classified as a polymorphism based on a normal creatine/creatinine (Cr:Crn) ratio and cerebral creatine signal in proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (H-MRS) in the patient. Furthermore, we found 14 novel intronic and neutral variants that were not encountered in at least 280 male control chromosomes and should be considered as unclassified variants. Our findings of a minimum of four pathogenic mutations and two potentially pathogenic mutations indicate that about 1% of males with MR of unknown etiology might have a SLC6A8 mutation. Thus, DNA sequence analysis and/or a Cr:Crn urine screen is warranted in any male with MR of unknown cause.