It is well established that genetic factors play an important role in the development of both type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2) and obesity, and that genetically susceptible subjects can develop these metabolic diseases after being exposed to environmental risk factors. Therefore, great efforts have been made to identify genes associated with DM2 and/or obesity. Uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) is mainly expressed in brown adipose tissue, and acts in thermogenesis, regulation of energy expenditure, and protection against oxidative stress. All these mechanisms are associated with the pathogenesis of DM2 and obesity. Hence, UCP1 is a candidate gene for the development of these disorders. Indeed, several studies have reported that polymorphisms -3826A/G, -1766A/G and -112A/C in the promoter region, Ala64Thr in exon 2 and Met299Leu in exon 5 of UCP1 gene are possibly associated with obesity and/or DM2. However, results are still controversial in different populations. Thus, the aim of this study was to review the role of UCP1 in the development of these metabolic diseases.