Congenital chloride diarrhea (CLD) is an inherited intestinal disorder caused by mutations in the down-regulated in adenoma gene. In Finland, the disease is prevalent because of a founder effect, and all but one of the CLD-associated chromosomes carry the same mutation, V317del. In Poland, another area with a high incidence of CLD, as many as seven different mutations have been detected so far. A third known cluster of CLD, around the Persian Gulf, has not been genetically studied. We studied the allelic diversity of CLD in Poland, in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and in three isolated families from North America and Hong Kong. Altogether, eight novel mutations were identified, making a total of 19 known CLD gene mutations. The Polish major mutation I675-676ins was found in 47% of the Polish CLD-associated chromosomes. Haplotype analysis and clustering of the I675-676ins mutation supported a founder effect and common ancestral origin. As in Finland, a major founder effect was observed in Arab patients: 94% of the CLD-associated chromosomes carried a nonsense mutation, G187X, which occurred in either a conserved ancestral haplotype or its derivative. Our data confirm that the same locus is mutated in all cases of CLD studied so far. In Poland, a relatively common founder mutation is likely to highlight a set of rare mutations that would very rarely produce homozygosity alone. This suggests that mutations in the CLD locus are not rare events. Although the disease is thought to be rare, undiagnosed patients may not be uncommon.