CD36 is a transmembrane glycoprotein of the class B scavenger receptor family. The CD36 gene is located on chromosome 7 q11.2 and is encoded by 15 exons. Defective CD36 is a likely candidate gene for impaired fatty acid metabolism, glucose intolerance, atherosclerosis, arterial hypertension, diabetes, cardiomyopathy, Alzheimer disease, and modification of the clinical course of malaria. Contradictory data concerning the effects of antiatherosclerotic drugs on CD36 expression indicate that further investigation of the role of CD36 in the development of atherosclerosis may be important for the prevention and treatment of this disease. This review summarizes current knowledge of CD36 gene structure, splicing, and mutations and the molecular, metabolic, and clinical consequences of these phenomena.