Obesity frequently clusters with hypertension, hyperlipidemia, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, and ischemic heart disease with hyperinsulinemia as syndrome X. Although central obesity has been recognized to have a strong genetic component, few candidate genes have been studied in this disorder. After a recently described association between the apolipoprotein-D (Apo-D) gene polymorphism and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus by our group, we have now looked at a TaqI polymorphism of the Apo-D gene in two other components of syndrome X, namely obesity and hyperinsulinemia. Apo-D genotype differences were found between obese subjects (n = 57) and slim controls (n = 57; P = 0.006). Furthermore, in the obese group an association was found between the Apo-D genotype and fasting insulin (P < 0.001). Preliminary evidence, therefore, suggests that the TaqI Apo-D polymorphism can be used as a genetic marker for obesity and several components of syndrome X.