In this study we compared the expression of p53 in six early placentas and eight hydatidiform moles using Northern blotting. A higher expression of p53 in hydatidiform moles as compared to normal placentas of comparable gestational age was observed. Immunohistochemical studies did not detect mutant protein of p53 in the hydatidiform moles. DNA sequencing was performed on four of the hydatidiform moles with increased expression of p53, but no mutations could be detected. The possible role of p53 in the pathogenesis of hydatidiform mole is discussed.