In individuals with the Marfan syndrome (MFS), mutations have been identified in the fibrillin-1 gene (FBN1) at 15q21.1. A proline-to-alanine change at position 1148 in exon 27 (Pro1148Ala) has been reported in probands with MFS, aortic aneurysm or Marfanoid-craniosynostosis. It was suggested that this mutation could be a risk factor for aortic dilatation, since it was rarely observed in control populations. To investigate further the pathogenicity of this substitution, we screened 416 unrelated control individuals by allele-specific oligonucleotide (ASO) hybridization. We found 16 individuals who carried the alanine allele (3.8%), 3 of whom were homozygous. Five were of Latin American and eight were of Asian extraction. We also screened 133 probands with MFS, aortic aneurysm or related connective tissue disorders and found 4 (3%) that were heterozygous for the 1148Ala allele. All positive results were confirmed by DNA sequencing. In 20 individuals with 1148Ala, we confirmed the association with the rarer A allele at the IVS27-5G-->A polymorphism. Our results suggest that the Pro1148Ala change is a polymorphism of ancient evolutionary origin that is more prevalent in Asian and Latin American than in Caucasian or African populations.