Ulcerative colitis is one of the principal forms of inflammatory bowel disease with complex manifestations. Although previous studies have indicated that there is a genetic contribution to the pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis, the genes influencing susceptibility to the disease have not been fully determined. To identify genetic factors conferring risk of ulcerative colitis, here we conducted a two-stage genome-wide association study and subsequent replication study using 1,384 Japanese individuals with ulcerative colitis and 3,057 control subjects. In addition to the expected strong association with the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region, we identified three new susceptibility loci: the immunoglobulin receptor gene FCGR2A (rs1801274, P = 1.56 x 10(-12)), a locus on chromosome 13q12 (rs17085007, P = 6.64 x 10(-8)) and the glycoprotein gene SLC26A3 (rs2108225, P = 9.50 x 10(-8)). rs1801274 is a nonsynonymous SNP of FCGR2A that is reported to have a critical effect on receptor binding affinity for IgG and to be associated with other autoimmune diseases. Our findings provide insight into the molecular pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis.