Uric acid is the metabolic end product of purine metabolism in humans. It has antioxidant properties that may be protective but can also be pro-oxidant, depending on its chemical microenvironment. Hyperuricemia predisposes to disease through the formation of urate crystals that cause gout, but hyperuricemia, independent of crystal formation, has also been linked with hypertension, atherosclerosis, insulin resistance, and diabetes. We discuss here the biology of urate metabolism and its role in disease. We also cover the genetics of urate transport, including URAT1, and recent studies identifying SLC2A9, which encodes the glucose transporter family isoform Glut9, as a major determinant of plasma uric acid levels and of gout development.