Uric acid is the end product of purine metabolism in humans and great apes, which have lost hepatic uricase activity, leading to uniquely high serum uric acid concentrations (200-500 microM) compared with other mammals (3-120 microM). About 70% of daily urate disposal occurs via the kidneys, and in 5-25% of the human population, impaired renal excretion leads to hyperuricemia. About 10% of people with hyperuricemia develop gout, an inflammatory arthritis that results from deposition of monosodium urate crystals in the joint. We have identified genetic variants within a transporter gene, SLC2A9, that explain 1.7-5.3% of the variance in serum uric acid concentrations, following a genome-wide association scan in a Croatian population sample. SLC2A9 variants were also associated with low fractional excretion of uric acid and/or gout in UK, Croatian and German population samples. SLC2A9 is a known fructose transporter, and we now show that it has strong uric acid transport activity in Xenopus laevis oocytes.