Polymorphic products of HLA class I genes from the human major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are traditionally assigned by serology with additional heterogeneity detectable using one-dimensional isoelectric focusing (1D-IEF). With the increased availability of HLA class I DNA sequence information it has become feasible to genotype for class I by polymerase chain reaction utilising sequence-specific primers (PCR-SSP). We describe here a comprehensive HLA-B PCR-SSP typing system based on available HLA nucleotide sequences which can detect all serologically defined antigens in most heterozygous combination in 48 one-step PCR reactions. In addition, four new unsequenced variants have been identified. DNA samples from 57 International Histocompatibility Workshop reference cell lines and 160 control individuals have been typed by the HLA-B PCR-SSP technique. 3/57 cell line types and 12/160 normal control individuals types were discrepant with the reported serological types. The SSP system has been designed to be higher resolution than serology but is not a complete allele-specific PCR although many single alleles can be identified. The system is entirely complementary to previous published PCR-SSP systems for HLA-Class II and HLA-Class I in that the same PCR conditions and controls are used which allows us to do one step PCR-SSP for all relevant HLA loci in under 3 hours in a system suitable for the typing of cadaver donors.