Recently identified mutations affecting different domains of the RET proto-oncogene are associated with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 2A (MEN 2A) and type 2B (MEN 2B), familial and sporadic Medullary Thyroid Carcinomas (MTC) and Hirschsprung disease (HSCR). In order to facilitate the screening for RET mutations, and to study possible genotype-phenotype correlations, we established exon-intron junctions and extended the intronic sequences flanking the 20 exons of this gene. This made it possible to design primers and to develop PCR conditions useful for SSCP analysis of the whole RET coding sequence. Nine conformational variants were observed which after sequencing turned out to be 8 silent mutations and a conservative amino acid substitution. Restriction analysis performed on DNA samples from unrelated controls confirmed the polymorphic nature of six of these nucleotide changes and made it possible to estimate the frequency of the corresponding alleles.