The arylamine N-acetyltransferase (NAT-2) polymorphism causes impaired drug metabolism in about half of the white population. By the combined use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction mapping with the endonucleases Fok I and Dde I, we have studied the genetic basis underlying NAT-2 polymorphism in genomic deoxyribonucleic acid from 245 healthy Spaniards. The study of three mutations at the NAT-2 gene locus by PCR analysis (namely, 481T, 590A, and 857A) revealed that all these mutations were present in Spaniards at similar frequencies as described in other white populations, strongly contrasting with genetic differences in the CYP2D6 polymorphism between Spaniards and other white subjects. The frequencies for NAT-2 mutations were different in Spaniards compared with Hispanics. About 12% of the subjects studied were incorrectly genotyped by the PCR test. Further studies involving restriction mapping of PCR products revealed the occurrence of at least five NAT-2 mutations that, alone or combined, were present in eight allelic variants of the NAT-2 gene. The allele frequencies were as follows: wild type, 25.3%; 341C + 481T + 803G, 32.9%; 341C + 481T, 6.3%; 282T + 590A, 24.9%; 282T, 3.5%; 590A, 1.6%; 803G, 4.1%; and 857A, 1.4%. The prevalence of the poor acetylator genotype among Spaniards is 53%.