An assessment has been made of the polymorphism of human complement component C4 by comparing derived amino acid sequences of cDNA and genomic DNA with limited amino acid sequences. In all, one complete and six partial sequences have been obtained from material from three individuals and include two C4A and two C4B alleles. Differences were found between the 4 alleles from 2 loci in only 15 of the 1722 amino acid residues, and 12 lie within one section of 230 residues, which in 1 allele also contains a 3-residue deletion. In three variable positions, an allelic difference in one C4 type was common to the other types. Three nucleotide differences were found in four introns. In spite of marked differences in their chemical reactivity, the many allelic forms appear to differ in less than 1% of their amino acid residue positions. This unusual pattern of polymorphism may be due to recent duplication of the C4 gene, or may have arisen by selection as a result of the biological role of C4, which interacts in the complement sequence with nine other proteins necessitating conservation of much of the surface structure.