Non-pustular psoriasis consists of two disease subtypes, type I and type II, which demonstrate distinct characteristics. Firstly the disease presents in different decades of life, in type I before the age of 40 years and later in type II. Secondly, contrasting frequencies of HLA alleles are found: type I patients express predominantly HLA-Cw6, -B57, and -DR7, whereas in type II patients HLA-Cw2 is overrepresented. Finally, familial inheritance is found in type I but not in type II psoriasis. The study of concomitant diseases in psoriasis contributes to deciphering the distinct patterns of the disease. Defence against invading microorganisms seems better developed in psoriatics than in controls. This evolutionary benefit may have caused the overall high incidence of psoriasis of 2%. Psoriasis is a multifactorial and heterogenetically inherited disease. The heterogeneity is evident by the diversity of genetically linked markers. The multifactorial component results from the observation of external trigger mechanisms, such as the Koebner phenomenon, stress and the intake of certain drugs. Twin studies have shown that environmental factors contribute to the onset of the disease. In type I psoriasis, special extended haplotypes such as EH57.1 (HLA-Cw6-B57-DRB1*0701-DQA1*0201-DQB1*0303) and EH65.1 (HLA-Cw8-B65-DRB1*0102-DQB1*0501) have been found to be increased. The application of microsatellite techniques has identified distinct positions on several chromosomes at which putative psoriasis genes may be located. Disease susceptibility genes are thought to be present on chromosomes 4q, 6p, 16q, 17q and 20p. Moreover, on chromosome 1q, genes regulating epidermal differentiation have been identified. Linkage to this area has been proposed. Furthermore, psoriasis gene loci on chromosomes 2, 8 and 20 have been suggested.