Genetic factors play a significant role in determining inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) susceptibility. Epidemiologic data support genetic contribution to the pathogenesis of IBD, which include familial aggregation, twin studies, racial and ethnic differences in disease prevalence. Linkage studies have identified several susceptibility genes contained in different genomic regions named IBD1 to IBD9. Nucleotide oligomerization domain (NOD2) and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes are the most extensively studied genetic regions (IBD1 and IBD3 respectively) in IBD. Mutations of the NOD2 gene are associated with Crohn's disease (CD) and several HLA genes are associated with ulcerative colitis (UC) and CD. Toll like receptors (TLRs) have an important role in the innate immune response against infections by mediating recognition of pathogen-associated microbial patterns. Studying single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in molecules involved in bacterial recognition seems to be essential to define genetic backgrounds at risk of IBD. Recently, numerous new genes have been identified to be involved in the genetic susceptibility to IBD: NOD1/Caspase-activation recruitment domains 4 (CARD4), Chemokine ligand 20 (CCL20), IL-11, and IL-18 among others. The characterization of these novel genes potentially will lead to the identification of therapeutic agents and clinical assessment of phenotype and prognosis in patients with IBD.